THE HARN MUSEUM By: Sydney Westman

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist: The piece Chinese Style Fancy Dress Costume, by Francis Kodow Coker, he uses the unique mediums of cotton, nylon, zipper, wire, paint and sisal in order to create a unique masquerade costume that represents Ghanaian culture. Seeing this work in person helped me to better appreciate it because I got to see all of the unique mediums and components that make up this work in person and in a three dimensional manner. Since it is a free standing piece of art, simply seeing a picture of it online would not have allowed me to truly understand and appreciate the dimensionality of the piece. This medium of art really spoked to me because, just by looking and it and reading about the different materials it was made out of, I was able to see how the way it was made and what it was made of contributes to the Ghanaian culture. Additionally, seeing this costume in person allowed me to closely admire all the intricate details of the art, such as the complex geometric patterns of the costume and the unique adornments around his waist and headdress. To me, this artwork communicates the celebratory nature of African culture, as these costumes were often used in performances at festivals and communal events. To me, it represents a part of Ghanaian culture and history, and seeing it in person only served to multiply the intensity of that effect.
Design of the Museum: The picture that I chose for this part of the assignment represents the design, architecture, layout and setup of the main part of the Harn museum. This is the view of the room that you first see when you walk out of the entrance to the Harn and into the exhibit portion. As this room is the first display of art you see, it sets the tone and creates the atmosphere for the art-containing portion of the museum. This wing, if you will, of the Harn is set up in a way that represents a variety of the different media that the museum contains; the most predominantly represented in this space are sculpture and paintings. What was most appealing to me about this part of the museum is the arrangement of the art and the use of the space because the way in which it is set up represents a variety of different works in a cohesive manner. This room made the biggest impression on me and was the most special to me because it brought a sense of amazement to me due to the variety of mediums, colors and objects represented. It felt like I was taking in a whole world at once, but the layout and spatial arrangement of the works kept the room from feeling too overwhelming. Additionally, since this room is the first you see when you enter the museum, I feel as though they included some of the most interesting and provoking pieces, which added to the strong effect that the room has on the viewer.
Art and Core Values: This work, Three Girls Holding Hands, by Sebastiao Salgado, represents the importance and value of friendship and human connection, even during difficult times. This piece shows young girls dealing with the effects of poverty and displays their endurance. Though these girls are living in poverty and experiencing hardships, they are still holding hands and showing the importance of human connection. To me, I consider my personal relationships extremely important and one of my core values is devotion to the ones I love. This picture spoke to me because you could see the bond that these girls share and because it represented their devotion to one another, even throughout hard times. I think that, since this photo was in black and white, it contributed to the melancholy undertone of the photo. By reading the description of the art work and looking in the background of the painting, you can tell that these girls are living in a poor area and the fact that the work is black and white intensifies the sadness of the situation. However, as much sorrow as this may evoke, the reason that I like this painting is because it represents strong will, determination and the importance of human connection when encountering diversity. This piece made me think about my friends and close relationships and the special bond that I share with the important people in my life. It also made me nostalgic for the time when I was younger and still have the childlike innocence that these girls have, as the probably don’t fully understand the effects of the situation they are in. Though this piece featured no unique and unheard of medium and doesn’t contain eye-catching colors or patterns, it stood out to me because of the emotion that it contains.
Art and the Good Life: Seated Bodhisattva, a work by an artist in the Josean Dynasty, represents the ideology of the Buddha and gives it a physical manifestation in the modern world. I think that this piece of art was meant to immortalize the Buddha as well as the positive qualities that he represents. The Good Life theme depicted in this art is that of enlightenment and represents being at a level of complete peacefulness and happiness with oneself and the surrounding world. This artist clearly put a lot of time and hard work into this piece, as it contains man intricate details, is made quite proportionately and has lasted for hundreds years. To me, this demonstrates the importance the artist places on the peaceful and spiritual ideals of the Buddha, as many do. This made me appreciate even more all that we learned about the Buddha in class and this sculpture demonstrates the importance that many people place on their religion and discovering their true destiny. The Buddha is the embodiment of peace, love and happiness and this sculpture is the physical representation of that. This work communicates the important components of the Good Life, as one must be happy and at peace in order to experience it. Seeing this manifestation of those themes in sculpture form was important to me because it reinforced all of those ideals in me and gave me a sense of peace and happiness.

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