My Trip to the Harn Museum of Art Chelsea Shay

Medium of Art:

Decorative Glass Work 

One of my favorite mediums of art in the museum was the glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. He emulated and combined both ancient and modern types of glass work, and he added his own flair as well. This combination of styles allowed him to lead his company, Tiffany Studios, into prominence in the late 1800s. I really enjoyed being able to see the process that went into making something that I otherwise may not have thought twice about, because it's easy to forget that something like a vase is, in fact, art. Tiffany created a new molten technique to create glass-ware with, and yet I almost breezed past it! It makes me appreciate more the effort that goes into more non-traditional art that is now heavily mass produced in factories.

Me after asking an uncomfortable employee to take my picture.
Vases and other glass work by Tiffany

Design of the Museum:

Asian Art Wing

The Asian Art Wing of the Harn Museum was beautiful. Once you entered the gallery doors, you are greeted by a blissful ambiance of peaceful nature. The architecture of the gallery created a link between nature and art. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that nature is art. And this room helped re-establish that connection between what was inside the museum and what was outside the walls: nature. This implicit association between art and nature encouraged one to feel serene and calm. The large openness of the structure allowed one to embrace the art of the world, whether it was human derived or biologically inspired.

Pictures from inside the garden just outside the window.

Art and the Good Life:


I enjoyed the Asian Art Wing so greatly that it was in this room that I found the art that I believe resembled the good life the best. The piece "Uma-Mahesvara" from India is a sculptural depiction of two powerful Hindu gods, Shiva and Uma. The art represents something very beautiful to me: "together, Shiva and Uma symbolize the ultimate creative power of the universe and the fullness of the supreme being," (Harn). Whether one prescribes to Hinduism or not, the idea that this image symbolizes conveys a sense of oneness and tranquility. To me, no matter one's life philosophy, finding beauty within creativity and allowing oneself to be in awe of the universe is something necessary for living a satisfying human life. By looking at the world beyond our own lens, we can begin to feel the horror and peace that comes with the acceptance of our relationship with the universe that far outreaches our own human hands. This is essential to the good life, and, for me, this sculpture perfectly captures this idea.

Core Values:

Ethnic and Racial Recognition

Robert Gwathmey's oil piece "The Woodcutter" struck me in it's call to black recognition. There are plenty pieces that speak towards the idea of racial inequality and struggle, and although these pieces are striking and contain a beautiful message, this particular work hit me in a way those other pieces did not. Often in racial equality movements there is a focus (whether from the side of or the opposing side) on inequality, but seldom do these movements' proprietors, nor their contrarians, address another aspect of racial equality: remembrance and acknowledgement of culture. The fight for racial equality will always ensue in the traditional respect, but I believe that more works need to be shown in art museums that are like Gwathmey's piece. This is because often times the culture of the underprivileged is ignored or not taken into account, which helps in taking identity away. The thing is, no matter others are or are not doing, black communities live on and continue their culture. I really appreciate, for example, the new Black Lives Matter movement's adherence to this idea. On their website, one of their goals is to be "unapologetically black." This, to me, is beautiful. Because throughout these times of tension the culture of the oppressed is often forgotten about or not mentioned. This truly gives power to the culture of the mis-and-underrepresented peoples, and to me, this art just exemplifies this.

Citations:, The Harn Museum of Art (Gainesville, FL)

Created By
Chelsea Shay

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