Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum Yehyun Mun

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art

Along with three close friends of mine, I planned a day during the weekend to go to the museum. To be quite frank, we had a bit of a hard time getting to the museum, because the entrance can be a bit confusing, but after we managed to find the entrance, it was easy to scan our Gator 1 and start the journey. Even though we did not get the laminated instructions, we read the paper of instructions throughout the tour. I genuinely enjoyed the experience, through it I realized that I missed going to art museums. I believe that any form of art is beautiful in its unique way, and made a decision to come back to the Harn Museum on my own time for personal enjoyment, not for an assignment.

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist

Paintings of Hiram Williams

The first thing that caught my eye was this collection of vibrant shades of yellow and green. I felt an imaginary gust of cool breeze as I glanced at these paintings, two of what resembled palm trees and one of an alligator. Looking at these paintings in a photograph does not accurately represent the massive size of each paintings, the two on the ends being taller than my own height. I could not keep my eyes off of the pale yellow streaks and deep yellow blotches, and without realizing myself, I was standing right in front of this collection.

Palm Tree with Sea c. 1991

A close-up of these paintings helps see the individual streaks of paint that drew me in. The details shown through shadows and protruding clusters of the medium allow us understand the passion behind each stroke that went into the making of these paintings. The paintings were unlike others that I had seen in the museum thus far. It felt as though the artist had more power, yet control over every aspect of the artwork, from individual paint marks to the overall picture depicted. The rough edges all throughout the canvas actually aided in understanding the feeling of the artist at the time he was painting these pictures.

Design of the Museum

It isn't until one is inside a building that he or she realizes the beauty of the outside--the nature. After walking around the museum, finding an entire wall of glass in the Asian wing, with a view of a beautiful, lively garden, was absolutely enchanting. The wooden dividers between the windows complimented the way the dark green leaves contrasted with the bright blue sky, and the light shining through each glass helped me appreciate the artworks inside the wing as well. Right next to the Japanese-style garden was another garden, made of rocks. Each gravel seemed to perfectly flow with its surroundings and in tune. Right in the entrance was a list of exercises to help relax and actually take time to sooth the mind, which I found to be very fascinating.

Art and Core Values

Seated Bodhisattva

I was very excited to see a Korean section in the Asian wing. As a Korean, I most likely took more time than I needed in this section, but I wanted to see what the museum had to offer about my homeland culture. Although I am not Buddhist, the Seated Bodhisattva personally stood out to me. "A Bodhisattva is a merciful Buddhist saint and savior, a Buddha-to-be who refrains from entering enlightenment out of compassion for all others striving to reach the same goal." I was conflicted as I read this quote in the description, because I understood compassion and empathy that innately exists, and I, of all people, would go out of my way to help others feel better about certain aspects of life. However, refraining from reaching enlightenment is refusing to take a very big and important step in life, and it made me wonder: at what point should we stop putting others first, and put our own needs and desires before anyone else's? Compassion and empathy have always and will always be a crucial aspect of my life, and these self-questioning moments helped me further realize that I truly value these characteristics, and, although I do not believe that one should suffer while helping others, I will always respect this idea of kindness and selflessness.

Art and the Good Life

A Thanksgiving prayer to the Mixe god Kionga in gratitude for the good harves, Oaxaca, Mexico by Sabastiao Salgado c. 1980

This photograph focuses on the idea of giving thanks, which I believe is a very important aspect of life. The two people on top of the rock have their arms spread out, in the shape of a cross. This posture is liberating, for it opens up the lungs and the body to intake air, allowing for a refreshing feeling to run through the body. As an observer, it was easy for me to feel that same sensation, with the hint of joy that comes from such an emotion. It made me think that showing gratitude is a happy thing to do. Whether it be to God or to another person, giving thanks helps the other realize that they are appreciated for what they have done for another. In a way, it is a reinforcer to do nice things for others and to be kind to them. Why wouldn't you want others to feel good about themselves and be encouraged to be generous?

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