Tour of the Harn by brett gajewski

Medium of the Art

A picture in front of Frank Stella's "Zandvoort" at the Harn Museum

The piece Zandvoort created by Frank Stella is a sculpture made of mixed media and etched magnesium. This piece caught my eye as soon as I walked into the main art exhibits at the Harn museum. Simply seeing a picture of this work could never capture the minute intricacies of the sculpting and the detail in the magnesium. A picture captures some of the elements and many of the bright colors, but seeing this in person allowed me to view it from several angles and notice how more details seemed to keep appearing. I found the abstractness of this to be striking and the bright colors appealing. The work communicated to me a sense of joy and it made me feel relaxed and happy.

Design of the Museum

A picture at the entrance to the Frida Kahlo exhibit in the Harn Museum, displaying a large portrait of Kahlo

The Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Harn Museum appealed to me for several reasons. The first is that it is an exhibit I visited for a Spanish class here at UF, so this aspect of interdisciplinary study intrigued me. Also, the exhibit includes a short movie about Frida Kahlo’s life and her artwork which makes the display more interactive and exciting to me while presenting another opportunity to keep learning more. The exhibit remains very open and the photographs are arranged along the wall in a way that seems to tell a story of its own. I enjoyed this very much because it made walking through the display seem natural and less awkward than trying to organize my own path through. The exhibit makes me feel excited because it showed me how art can be more than just pieces in a museum and it can even extend beyond the artwork itself – Frida Kahlo was an influential figure in Mexican history that I learned about in Spanish, so the translation into this class was intriguing.

Art and Core Values

A picture with a Face Mask created by the Winiama people in Burkina Faso

This Face Mask made by the Winiama people of Burkina Faso scared me a little at first. The mask did not seem to be aesthetically pleasing, so I read the placard explaining it. This mask represents a spirit in the religion of the Winiama people and is used during important spiritual events such as funerals. This explained to me why it seemed somewhat abstract and creepy. It also called to mind my own core values and beliefs. I am a practicing Catholic and my religion has many of its own symbols and unique artwork. This mask made me wonder how people from other parts of the world view the symbols and practices of my religion. Reflecting on these questions helped me better understand my own beliefs by considering what the symbols I see in my daily life mean to me. It also helped me understand why I cherish these beliefs and urged me to consider how people so different from me can cherish their own religious beliefs in a similar manner.

Art and the Good Life

A picture in front of Cundo Bermudez's "La Flora" and "Las Tres Antillas"

The image above shows paintings which became 16-story tall murals created by Cundo Bermudez in Cuba and Puerto Rico. These murals embody the “Sharing the Good Life” theme. The tiles which created the actual murals are made of painted ceramic from Italy and the images within the murals celebrate Caribbean culture. This interaction between the work’s purpose and the work’s source plays at an interesting idea that the Good Life is meant to be shared. Also, the theme of sharing is depicted within the art itself because it is meant to unite the many Caribbean nations by a common heritage. The murals even required a team to design, create and install which furthers this notion of sharing the Good Life. By considering the idea that the artist himself put into these works and all of the teamwork and communication it took to make Bermudez’s idea a reality really made me appreciate sharing. Sharing the good life goes beyond the base idea of trading goods, but it encourages interpersonal relationships and expanding our own horizons to lead better lives and help others do the same.

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