Trip to the Harn Museum Samantha Micallef

The entrance into the museum

On Wednesday, March 1st, I visited the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. I was really excited to visit, as I had already had an amazing time at the Florida Museum of Natural History right next door. The architecture of the exterior of the museum was so sleek and modern, with lots of exposure to natural lighting and clarity. As I walked through the entrance doors, I noticed that the floors, walls and ceilings of the lobby were all white. It was almost sterile, but appropriate because everything with color popped out of its place. I was greeted by a receptionist, who happily took my Gator1 ID card, and gave me a map of the museum. I then checked my bag in with the security woman, took a right and entered the museum.

John Chamberlain - Untitled

When I entered the museum, this piece was one of the first to catch my eye. It was off centered in the room and seemed to be crushed aluminum or metal. My curiosity got the best of me as I ventured over to read more about the piece. This sculpture - which is made up of crushed aluminum foil, acrylic, lacquer and polyresin - was created by John Chamberlain in 1973. In photos, you cannot truly appreciate the size and mass of the object, its larger than an average man curled up in a ball. Its quite massive, and so abstract that it looks like a crumpled up soda can. I think it's really innovative and different that Chamberlain used these various materials because they were so different/unique. This piece communicated to me that it doesn't take a canvas and paint to create art; art can be created in all various shapes and sizes. The artwork made me feel enlightened in the sense that it exposed me to a new form of art in an abstract light.

Asian Collection at the Harn

The Asian Collection section at the Harn museum captivated me as soon as I walked in the room. Contrasting to every other wing of the museum, this room had dark wood floors and ceilings, with all natural lighting from glass windows exposing a beautiful garden out back. Considering the majority of the museum was very neutral in color, when I walked into this section I realized that because this room was different, it encapsulated me. The warmth the floors and ceilings definitely drew me into the room, and the natural lighting kept me there. Just the overall contrast between the rest of the museum and that room really sold me. Also, the openness and overall space/size of the room really allowed me to see the asian culture as a whole, with all various pieces of art scattered around the rooms edges. This exhibit made me feel at peace, it was so well done. I so enjoyed the change of scenery and lighting, it was absolutely stunning.

Pieces in the Harn that tie into one of my core values, family.

The two pieces above, the ancestor spirit masquerade costume and the bronze sculpture, exaggerate and depict a very important core value of mine, family. Firstly, the ancestor spirit masquerade costume was worn in a ritual in which Egungun people looked to their ancestors for wisdom, relief, and power. An individual from the culture would wear this outfit, and every individual who needed something from their ancestors - whether it be wisdom, relief, etc. - would add a piece of cloth to the outfit. Overall, this outfit was worn to honor and respect the family line. Second, the sculpture of bronze depicts a couple with a child, which helps confirm Cuban tradition of collectivist culture. Both of these pieces strike a very somber and almost nostalgic emotion in me. I am now off away from my family and I value being with them so much, artwork like this strikes me in a way in which I begin to miss my parents and my sister, allowing me to truly validate that I value my family more than anything.

The section of the museum dedicated to the Guerrilla Girls.

This entire section of the museum conveys to me the seeking and fighting of the good life. This wing is dedicated to the "Guerrilla Girls" and it promotes equality in women and men of all races. Since these various newspaper ads and billboard signs are fighting for equality in representation of women and men, which to me would be the good life - for men and women to be treated equally. This art wing as a whole allows me to deepen my appreciation for radical women who stand up for who and what they believe in.

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Samantha Micallef

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