Good Life Tour of the Harn By: Maclaine Reemsnyder

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist: One artist's work at the Harn Museum that really stuck out to me was a series of Linocut prints by Rafael Tufino. Printmaking for artists is such a fascinating medium that requires serious precision. I found out that Rafael Tufino was one of Puerto Rico’s “most prominent cultural figures.” The prints I saw were from his series Coffee Portfolio. The images reflect on the various aspects of coffee production. You can see the people picking, drying and grinding coffee beans in these intriguing images. What I found so striking about these prints were the all of the tiny details. I cannot imagine the hours Tufino must have spent carving linoleum to achieve such images.

Design of the Museum: The exhibit that struck out to me the most at the Harn was the Highlights from the African Collection. This was the first exhibit I entered, and I understand why the museum designers would place this exhibit so close to the entrance. The artwork in this exhibit was colorful and truly reflected on African culture. There was a display of a garden with a small statue in the middle that I particularly drew my attention. I found the arrangement of the art to be profound. This exhibit had beautiful figures dressed in bright African prints and tribal masks. It instantly caught my interest and made me more intrigued to go through the rest of the museum.

Art and Core Values: One piece in the Harn Museum that I found particularly profound was the Seated Bodhisattva by Joseon Dynasty. This figure represents a Buddhist saint/savior that refrained from enlightenment out of compassion for those who could not achieve such an aspiration. I instantly noticed the hand gesture the statue held. I learned that his hands displayed the abhaya mudra, the gesture of fearlessness, and the varada mudra, which is a gift bestowing gesture. I felt somewhat sorrowful at first, thinking about how this saint never reached enlightenment. However, I also felt a sense of love because he chose to live a life of compassion for others. I found this piece to be beautiful because of everything it represents. It reminded me how important it is to be empathetic and caring of others.

Art and the Good Life: The exhibit Mirror Mirror… stood out to me because every photograph inside of it was of the same woman. Her name was Frida Kahlo. When I saw her image I instantly thought of the theme Embodying the Good Life. The image of Frida Kahlo is a famous one, and to me it represents just how appearance can lead on to the Good Life. There are many people who know little about Kahlo as a woman, but they know her image. The picture I chose depicts meaning that is open to interpretation. I felt that the many portraits of this beautiful woman gave me a better understanding of how physical health and beauty can create an impact on people and their goal to achieve the Good Life.

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