Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum Viewing and appreciating the art, artists, and design of the harn

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist

At the Harn Museum, I saw the Old Man’s Cloth. By seeing it directly in person, it is easy to become captivated by the red, silver, gold, and black metal fragments that make up the work created by El Anatsui. El Anatsui was a Ghanaian born in 1944 and one of Africa’s most influential contemporary artists. As I first entered the Harn Museum, this piece certainly received my attention due to it’s size, many metallic colors, and texture. I found this piece to be extremely interesting due to the fact that it was constructed with discarded bottle tops of liquor bottles that were once used by colonists. This artwork is also intriguing because it is contorted and exhibits a luminous visual effect. What I found to be striking about the technique of El Anatsui is that his practice comes from a wider understanding of what art can be due to the hard work he puts into it. As an African artist, he seems extremely engaged in his region’s culture, as well as its history. Through his choice of material, he addresses the message that the cloth, comprised of liquor bottle caps, represents humanity. This made me genuinely appreciate the piece the most due to the idea that it was produced to portray the significance of waste and consumption in our everyday lives. This artwork gave me the understanding that you can use everything and anything to be creative and simultaneously represent a powerful message.

Design of the Museum

A wing of the museum that was most appealing to me happened to be the “Cofrin Asian Art Wing.” This is because of it’s authenticity to the Asian culture and environment. In particular, I found the outdoor garden to be quite intriguing. It had an extremely realistic scenery that included flowing water, many bright and green plants, rocks/pebbles, and even a bridge that tied the whole collection together. The large window looking out toward the garden was alluring because it portrayed the garden while simultaneously allowing natural light to fill the entire room of the exhibit. Also, I perceived the scent of wood inside the wing that created a serene vibe which ultimately made me the most appealed to the Asian collection. This exhibition featured sculptures from throughout Asia made from stone, ivory, wood, and more that made me feel more informed about the Asian culture.

Art and Core Values

An artwork that appeals to one of my core values is titled Manhattan by George Grosz. The painting depicts post-World War II New York City. This depiction represents power and authority, some of my main core values, as the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings tower over the rest of the Big Apple. The heart and energy of the city have more meaning than it’s size. After immediately being fascinated by this painting, I could picture millions of people roaming the city and completing their everyday routines, although this was not displayed in the painting. The visual representation the artist wants us to understand is that power, authority, and strength are ubiquitous despite no evidence of human presence in the painting when the city is alive and active. This painting helps me better understand what I believe because I should always work independently and harder than everyone else to be able to succeed, essentially, towering over others. This painting instills an emotion of confidence in me- making me want to be more motivated in all I pursue.

Art and the Good Life

An artwork in the Harn Museum that conveys a Good Life theme is Cast of Thousands, Serra Pelada, Brazil. The Good Life theme depicted is power and perspective. When first encountering this photo, one may see a bunch of people working in unison. When finding out the underlying meaning of the painting, you see people fighting for wealth and for power in the gold mines. Power and authority seem to be ubiquitous themes conveyed throughout everyday life, but this painting gives it a deeper meaning. In reality, the power they strive for is wealth through their low-paying, hard-working jobs they continue to show up to each and every day. This piece communicates the good life theme of power through displaying a common goal thousands of men are trying to achieve;that common goal of theirs is to find gold and support themselves and their families if they have any. It adds to my overall understanding by depicting the message that you have to go out each and every day and fight for the goals you set your mind to.

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