Selina's trip to the Harn an art adventure!

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist:

It's difficult for me to choose but one piece at the Harn that is my absolute favorite, for what spoke the most to me was rather a specific body of work in which each piece came together to form one coherent artwork . My favorite art currently at the Harn is a collection of work by the Guerrilla Girls, a group of female activist artists. The Guerrilla Girls are the epitome of contemporary art- their work is provocative, graphic in style, and politically and socially-charged. As a freshman art student I've had minimal exposure to the art world and yet I can already see reoccurring trends within the art community and The Guerrilla Girls follow a popular modern canon of mainstream activist art. A main theme among The Guerrilla Girls' work is centered around the role of women in the art world and how restricted and minimal that role has historically been and continues to be today. As a woman artist, their work really resonated with me personally; I felt connected to their work, as if I had a relationship with it.

Furthermore, being able to see the Guerrilla Girls in an authentic museum setting for the very first time offered a different perspective. It's one thing to study their work by sifting through images online and it's another to see it in its element. Baring witness to artwork of this theme hung on genuine museum walls not only spreads The Guerrilla Girls' messages about social change, but also forces us as the audience to recognize the legitimacy of their work and consider the issues it tackles. The work speaks volumes louder in a museum.

Stylistically, The Guerrilla Girls adhere to a simple, graphic theme and much of their work is made up entirely of text, offering viewers an technological-age aesthetic we can feel comfortable with. As a media-driven millennial, I believe this style of work eases my subconscious.

Design of the Museum:

The Harn is a professionally curated museum and its layout and design reflect this. The walls are positioned in such a way that invites visitors to walk through with ease. The walls are colored to reflect the work they're displaying and highlight the artworks' successful features and general aesthetic. The artwork itself is positioned on the walls at eye-level carefully lit with overhead lights that brighten the view while simultaneously minimizing reflections.

Frida Kahlo exhibit entrance
I really enjoyed the display of this film piece. The projector was aimed at a white wall while the opposite wall held a large mirror, reflecting the film. This layout is inviting and involving as it allows viewers to become part of the artwork itself as they see their reflection in the piece.
The only part of the museum's design that really jumped out at me in a negative way was this Monet entitled "Champ d'avoine (Oat Field)". I'm a huge fan of classic impressionism and Monet in particular. It was amazing to have this piece only a few feet away from me. It is for this reason I was a little disappointed by the frame choice. I understand that elaborate frames reflect the era in which the artwork was produced, however, in my personal opinion it takes away from the artwork (not that its my place to decide which frame belongs around a Monet!) However, I got to thinking-is it the museum curator who chooses frames to masterpieces such as this Monet? Or does its frame remain part of the painting forever, traveling with it wherever it goes?

Art and Core Values:

Despite my personal problems with its framing, Champ d'avoine and its fellow impressionist works spoke to my core values. Even though my favorite display was that of The Guerrilla Girls, the classic impressionism collection, entirely different in style, meaning, and era, was a close second. Although members of the art community would agree that the impressionism was a historically significant art movement, many overlook it and prefer contemporary pieces that have clear messages to convey. I appreciate this kind of work, however sometimes I just want to sit back and enjoy a piece of artwork with little to no meaning and appreciate it simply for its aesthetic quality and beauty. It is my core belief that life is beautiful and everyday our only duty as humans to uphold is to work to make this life as beautiful, happy, and loving as possible. This is what I am reminded of when looking at works such as these. It's nice to see artwork that is fiery and working to evoke societal change, however the feelings associated with this type of art, despite being passionate, are not always pleasant. Even if there was no intended meaning behind a beautiful, impressionist painted landscape, it reminds me of my idea of the Good Life.

"Springtime Vision" by Childe Hassam

Art and the Good Life:

The Guerrilla Girls' collection represents the Good Life theme 'fighting for the Good Life'. Just as Picasso painted Guernica as way to end the Spanish Civil War, The Guerrilla Girls use their work to end discrimination in contemporary society. Both are used as a catalyst for change. They see the Good Life as one where they, as female artists, have the same opportunities as their male counterparts and where all discrimination in general is eliminated. Their work attacks, it fights. They uses their artistic skills and talents as weapons. There work, although beautiful, is an act of war, as they fight for what they believe is right.

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