Good Life Tour of the Harn

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist: I believe that some artwork can only be fully appreciated in person. So when I heard about the Zen Garden at the Harn I decided that this would have to be one of the stops during our tour. Pictures may show the designs and layout of a zen garden, but only being inside of one can give you the full effect of peacefulness and tranquility. The way the sun hits the lines of stones creates reflections and shadows that can't be completely captured with a camera. In the garden, I found the layout of the vegetation and the scattered minimalist decorations flowed together quite well and conveyed a sense of cohesion and togetherness. This made me feel relaxed and peaceful as I was more than happy to sit back and simply enjoy the view of the garden for a couple of minutes.

Design of the Museum: The first thing that struck me as I entered the Harn was the architecture and layout. The massive corridor (pictured above) that leads to the first main gallery was stunning as sunlight was spilling in from the massive floor-to-ceiling windows. At the end of the corridor stands a lone statue that appears very bold and creatively placed. Many of the art work that appears throughout the exhibits is placed in very innovative ways so that each piece seems like the entire room is focused on it. The lighting of each piece was also fantastic and accented the art in a way so that the mood of the work was amplified. I also found the use of space appealing as it seemed that there were always large open spaces with plenty of room, yet there also appeared to be a massive amount of pieces in a single room or space. This overall design of the museum greatly enhanced my experience of the Harn and made it much more enjoyable.

Art and Core Values: This piece by Nancy Graves, called II-06-94, showcased many of her deepest interests and passions as well as reminders of her origins and growing up. Some of her passions that are displayed include astronomy and music and a horseshoe crab holds as a reminder of her origins. I believe that it is absolutely vital for a person to find their passions and to live by them. Once a person finds something they love and truly hold a passion for, they should never let that thing go. I also relate to the idea of remembering and appreciating a person's origins and how they grew up. I personally grew up in Chicago for a majority of my childhood and that will always be a piece of me, no matter what happens down the line. This piece of work instills the feelings of joy and enthusiasm in me as it reminds me of my own personal loves and passions. It also causes me to feel nostalgic as it reminds me of my own childhood. I think this piece helps me to understand that it is always good to remember the past but its even better to pursue passions in the future.

Art and the Good Life: The Good Life and the fight to achieve it is often represented through art. Martha Rosler's video, Semiotics of the Kitchen, displays her anger towards the fight she endures on her path to the good life. In the video, Rosler begins naming kitchen utensils in alphabetical order and demonstrating how to use them. But as she continues, her actions become more violent as she appears to be growing angry. This represents the exasperation and rage felt by women who are forced into oppressed roles. Rosler attempts to have this social injustice recognized by others and have it brought to light. Her Good Life would include the fair and equal treatment of women, but since that didn't exist at the time, she had to fight to achieve her Good Life. Fighting for the Good Life can take many forms, such as civil disobedience, speaking up against power, and even through art.

Created By
Michael Petruzzi

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