Tour of the Harn By Haley Harp

Introduction: Art can express so many wonderful things in so many ways. The technique used by the artist can communicate the mood and feelings behind a piece, the layout and design of the museum itself can help convey a message about the art, each artist can evoke emotions with pieces that reveal deep struggles and emotions in their own lives, and the art can help you understand a culture that you are unfamiliar with. There is no limitation on art and it can open many doors.

Technique of the Artist: The artist of this painting is Ross Bleckner. He titled this piece "Gate #2". I really like the technique he used to create that feeling of being trapped and longing for escape. The light blue alternating with the black not only created a three dimensional feel, but the illusion of light coming through. I think that is exactly what he was going for. I think he wanted to convey his feeling of being trapped and being able to see the light from the other side, but not being able to access it. I also like the way he did the key hole. When standing in front of the painting, it looks like it is suspended in mid air right in front of the canvas, but as you get closer, you can see that it is painted on top of the stripes. To me, this symbolized the escape seeming like it was closer than it actually was. Every time he feels like he's about to get out, he sees that the key hole is further away than he thought. I also like the way the stripes play tricks on your eyes. The feel of the painting is a little chaotic. You look at it and you almost get a headache. This seems to symbolize the complexity of the problem the artist is facing. The gate that can let him out seems like a simple fix, but in reality it is much more complex than originally thought. Just the technique he used to create this piece shows a lot about his feelings and motive behind it.
Design of Museum: This wing of the museum displayed all of the European art. Each room pictures above held art from a different European country. One aspect of this design that I liked was that it subtly displayed unity among the European countries with similarly-colored paintings and carvings, as well as the frames for each picture being the same. Each piece had its own flair, but it was still reminiscent of all the others. Another aspect about this room that I enjoyed was the color scheme and the architecture itself. It all was very bright and sophisticated, an image that people often associate with Europe. It was similar to what you would see in an average European home. The colors were classic and timeless, much like many of the European cultural aspects.
Art and Core Values: This work is not a painting or a sculpture, but a photograph. It features renowned artist Frida Kahlo lying in a hospital bed, sketching a man wearing traditional Mexican clothing. This may seem simple, but it truly speaks volumes about her values. It shows that no matter what is happening to her, she will continue to do what she loves. She will not let anything keep her from expressing herself through her art. I can relate to this on so many levels. Like Frida, I have had many health issues in my lifetime that have threatened to keep me from doing the things I love, but through every trial I have been determined to keep pushing and keep living my life despite the complications. When I saw this photograph in the Harn, I was very inspired by her determination because it it like the determination that I long to have. This aroused urgency to keep pushing and keep living no matter what. Seeing that an artist as successful as Frida Kahlo faced similar circumstances to mine, but pushed through and remained herself was wonderful and empowering.
Art and the Good Life: This work of art is another atypical piece that spoke to me. In my opinion, it portrayed the theme of cultural diversity and expression. This is a ceremonial African tribal costume. It was the very last thing I passed when leaving the museum. To me this piece, and the whole African section, was full of beautiful, colorful, elaborate pieces that weren't what you would think of when you think of art in a museum. There were many masks, garments, and even musical instruments that were displayed to represent African culture. There were even videos of tribal dances and music to help the viewer get an even better idea of what the culture is like in tribal Africa. In the Good Life class, we have talked about the danger of a single story. I feel like this exhibit helped show many sides to the African story and helped someone like me, who is unfamiliar with African culture and heritage, understand and appreciate it better.

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