'My Trip to the Harn Museum' introductory page Hunter Shaw

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist

Oftentimes, in order to better understand a piece of art, it is necessary to view the piece of art in person. This cannot be anymore true for Jean Borgatti's video Okakagbe masquerade performance in Ovao, Nigeria, featuring costumes by Pius Ahigbe (2003). What is so significant about Borgotti's technique for this particular work of art is not just the actual video, but his technique of using the mirror on the opposite wall of where the video is playing. As seen in my picture (above), the mirror, in my opinion, allows the viewer to witness the video as if the viewer is also there in-person. Personally, I believe this was the artist's intent, and it permits us to truly feel involved in this particular artwork. Looking at myself as if I were there in order to experience this traditional dance ritual made me feel more involved within the culture that the artwork was meant to display.

Design of the Museum

The David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing particularly caught my interest during my tour of the Harn, in terms of the design of the museum. The first aspect of the design of this wing that caught my interest was the use of dark wood throughout the entire room. The dark wood gave the room a calming undertone while walking throughout the wing, which I found very peaceful. Another part of this wing that had a large impression on me was the outdoor garden. Walking outside into the garden literally relieved the stress that I was feeling that day, and allowed me to breath easier. Overall, the artwork throughout the wing was appealing due to my interest in Asian culture. There were many historic artifacts and pieces of art that caused me to spend quite a lot of time in this room.

Art and Core Values

When looking at a piece of art, I always attempt feel a specific emotion from the artwork that I am viewing. While at the Harn Museum, no other piece of art caused me to feel a stronger emotion than Seated Buddha (4th and 5th century). Created between the 4th and 5th century, this particular artifact brought me peace seemingly as soon as I laid eyes upon it. When reading the caption for the artwork, I noticed that the Seated Buddha was missing his right arm/hand. The hand gesture, known as mudra, that was originally on the artifact stands for reassurance. Personally, I oftentimes worry about many issues in my life that cause me much concern. This artwork spoke to me, and made me feel reassurance, which is a core value that I want to grow further in my future.

Art and the Good Life

The definition of a good life is extremely subjective, and differs depending on who you are talking to. For me, Justine Kurland's piece Sheep Wranglers (2001), spoke to me as I found it to display what I consider to be a good life theme: happiness. As we grow older, it is common for as to want to "start acting like an adult," and we begin to lose our childhood instincts. Looking at Kurland's picture reminded me of the innocence of childhood and how happy that time of our lives is. This work evokes the good life theme of happiness due to the happy demeanor of the children in the picture, where the viewer can notice kids talking and laughing under a tree and two girls talking and enjoying each other. To me, this reminds me that it is sometimes necessary to live our lives as if we are children again; it provides relief from our stressful lives.

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