Good Life Tour of the Harn By: Alondra Pimentel

This is a spark story about my trip to the University of Florida's Harn Museum and my experience.

Untitled by Jerry Uelsman, 1978

Medium of the Art/ Technique of the Artist

All museums are unique. Not only in the kind of art they show or how it is presented, but mainly on how it is organized. The Harn Museum provided many different forms of art appealing to the eye in many different techniques and mediums. Some of the art they had you truly had to search for and those are the kinds that truly leave a mark -- the kind of art that you can't stand but to admire it for a couple of minutes. I ran into many pieces of art that I found striking, but the ones that truly stuck were those that meant something to me, that delivered a message or was presented in a nontraditional way. One of these pieces was the Untitled piece by Jerry Uelsman pictured above. Seeing this piece of artwork in person was significant because I realized that had I seen this on the internet somewhere, I probably would have scrolled past it and continued on with my day. This piece was located in a section of the museum where there are Staff favorites stored away in drawers, an area one can only see if you were looking for it, a piece you can only find if you pull the drawers out. What truly struck me about this piece was the message behind it and the way in which the artist chose to portray this message -- in a black and white photo of a naked women folded over to resemble the seed pictured above her. I assume these are two different pictures merged into one and edited so that the main focus are the two subjects. The meaning I got from this photo was one of unity and equality -- equality of humankind and nature, the symmetry and similarities that exists between us. This artwork caused a feeling of happiness and calmness to wash through me, it is a piece I think about when I am walking outside and looking around me at not only nature, but the people that surround me too.

The Paula and Marshall Criser Garden

Design of the Museum

When I first walked up to the museum, I was taken in by the entrance in itself. The museum is of fine and unique architecture, the entrance was a bridge with manmade ponds on both sides and large posters hanging on the walls. Inside, the museum is divided into art by regions, era, subjects, and even specific artists. Two areas of the museum really stood out to me in the form of which it was organized and how the art was presented. One of the specific exhibits that stood out to me was the Paula and Marshall Criser Garden pictured above, an exhibit that I found to be unforgettable. I have been to many museums that had a garden and a statue next to a walkway but this one was organized in such a manner to draw your attention, it was located in its own little section. This piece of art wasn't something you could just walk by. The vegetation in the garden was perfectly cut and maintained, the walls were painted in the perfect color so that the light shining in from above bounced off of it and back through the windows, and finally the rocks on the floor were perfectly placed to create an abstract. Everything about this piece seemed to fit perfectly with one another. When I first saw this, I took a moment to sit down and reflect. I felt a sense of calming wash over me as I examined the garden. To me, this garden and the fact that there were couches available for one to sit down and look at it, communicated a message not many might hear. I felt like the point of these gardens around the museum were there to have us sit down and reflect, to take a breath, a moment, to truly appreciate not only the art right in front of us but the one that surrounds us. This could also be a message we carry on into our everyday fast-paced lives: sit down and smell the roses, admire the art that surrounds you.

Highlights from the Photography Collection // A Frida Kahlo Exhibit

Another way in which the museum was organized was based on subjects and medium. For example, this area of the museum was named the Photography Collection and the first section pictured here was all about Frida Kahlo and her life. The photos are all inside a black frame with a white background, the photo much smaller inside of it and in black and white. Most of these frames were hung close together and on a colored wall, whether it be blue or a grayish color. All of these aspects put together allow for the pictures to truly stand out and draw the viewers attention.

Frida Kahlo Exhibit

Art and Core Values

My main core values have always been about growth and others, whether it be personal growth, intellectual growth, influencing others, or helping others. Walking around the Latin wing of the Harn Museum I came across a handmade wooden carving of Archangel Raphael. Raphael is the patron saint of healing, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and travelers. All of these incorporate everything I am as a person or aspire to be. I believe helping others is very important, therefore I try to do it as often as possible, whether it be simple everyday tasks or going on mission trips. Furthermore, I aspire to be a physician in the future, this encompasses both intellectual growth and helping others -- two of my core values. Lastly, Raphael is also the patron saint of travelers, something that many attribute to what the "good life" truly amounts to, or something that feeds into ones personal growth and intellectual growth. This piece of artwork made me happy, happy to have come across it, glad that it caught my eye and I gave myself time to truly appreciate it and take it all in. As a Christian, these small reminders is what allows me to live my life knowing that I am not alone and knowing what my purpose is, what I believe in. I never really knew who my favorite angel or saint was, but at the Harn Museum I learned that Raphael the Archangel was mine, this instilled both comfort and hope inside of me. This not only helped me grow as a person, but it also strengthened my personal beliefs in reference to religion.

Archangel Raphael by George T. Lopez
Family by Augustin Cardenas

Art and the Good Life

Personally, I feel like the Good Life is very simple to achieve: be happy, help others, and appreciate your family. Of course, everyones idea of the Good Life is different -- this happens to be mine. On my tour of the Harn Museum I came across three pieces that represented the Good Life. These pieces helped me to think about what I wanted to achieve, but most importantly what I wanted to protect. The pieces Artifact by Anne Noggle and Family by Augustin Cardenas, along with the Archangel Raphael sculpture I talked about above all represent the Good Life to me. Family has always been very important to me, and because of them I have learned the importance of helping others whenever I get the chance, therefore as long as I am able to do that and spend time with my family I'll be happy -- to me that truly is what the Good Life. The bond I have with my family and the eagerness I have to be better and to help others is something I always want to protect and hold close to me. Artifacts reminds me of my grandma, which is probably what the artist intended in the first place. I have always lived with my grandma and shared a special bond with her, she has always inspired me as a person. Now that I am away from her, that bond is something I wish to always protect and carry with me. All of these contribute to what the Good Life theme is to me and it allows me to appreciate it more because it is just one more reminder of how fortunate I am. It allows me to realize how I can take this and build on it, furthermore strengthening my core values and my idea of the Good Life.

Artifacts by Anne Noggle

University of Florida, 3259 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32607

Created By
Alondra Pimentel


All photos taken by Alondra Pimentel.  Cardenas, Augustin. Family. 1991. Bronze with brown patina. Harn Museum, UF. ; Lopez, George T. Archangel Raphael. Mid-20th Century. Wood, leather. Harn Museum, UF. ; Noggle, Anne. Artifact. 1976. Gelatin silver print. Harn Museum, UF. ;  Uelsman, Jerry. Untitled. 1978. Gelatin silver print. Harn Museum, UF. ;   Wiener, Aaron Lee. Paula and Marshall Criser Garden. N.d. Foreground, middle-ground, background. Harn Museum, UF.

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