Experiencing the Good Life at the Harn Grace murray


Meghan and I adventured to the Harn muesum this weekend and got to learn about the Good Life through the various exhibits, mediums, techniques, and values portrayed in all the pieces that we saw.

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist

In the Harn, one of the first pieces of artwork that we saw was a wood etching of the skyline of a city. From far away, this piece of art looked like a sketch, but once you looked close enough you could see each individual line and etching in the picture. It was amazing to look and see how the dept of the etching contributed to the fluid look of the piece. I was amazed how the artist captured the rush hour traffic and the boat speeding through the water without the use of color and with only the use of the etches. You can see the life in the city and the detail that is necessary to portray this is incredible, it was striking how precise the artist was. While admiring this piece, I was taken to a big city with bustling crowds of people on the streets and taxis honking at each other, so many sounds and smells, and it is crazy that a piece of art that is black and white has the ability to do that. It communicated to me the depth and value of simplicity. This artist captured so much and captured something that is so colorful and loud, but they did so without using a loud and flamboyant medium.

Design of the Museum

The whole environment of the museum was very welcoming and comfortable. The lights were bright enough to see everything, but not bright white like the lights in a hospital. The wing of the museum that was the most appealing to me was the Asian Art wing. I loved how you walked into the first part of the wing and there was a whole wall of vases, then some paintings, then more dishes on your right, photos on your left, and a large sculpture in the middle of the floor with an entire wall of windows looking out into a peaceful garden. The use of space was incredible because there was a different piece of art everywhere you looked, but it was not overwhelming at all. This exhibit made me feel light and calm because of the vast amount of natural lighting coming in from the garden. I loved how you could walk outside into the garden as well and hear the running water and feel the sunlight. Because of the garden, this exhibit felt very nature-oriented and I liked that a lot.

Art and Core Values

This picture of the art does not do the photograph justice, but this piece of art is a photograph called Prism that was taken by Marilyn Minter. In her work, she focuses on glamour and the intense desire our society has for material goods. For me personally, I saw this picture and was immediately attracted to the glitter and the bold colors, then when I ready the caption on the photo and learned that it was exploring the "pathology of glamour" I realized that my attraction to this photo is just an indicator of how I've fallen victim to the desire for things that are sparkly and glamorous. I loved the photo when I first saw it, but after reading the intention of the photo I felt guilty that I was attracted to it in the first place because I don't consider myself someone who is constantly striving for physical perfection and glamorous things. I am too lazy to wear makeup and it is rare for people to see me in anything other than a t-shirt and athletic shorts, I'm the opposite of glamorous, but I do appreciate things that are sparkly. I think my attraction to this picture says more about society as a whole than it does about my personality specifically. This picture was completely unnatural and if I saw someone walking down the street who had glitter all over their face I'd think they were crazy. Art allows us to exaggerate things, issues, and inclinations. We are inclined to "ooh" and "ahh" over extravagant things and this photo helped me to better understand that while I did like this photo, that doesn't mean that I strive to be like the woman in it who is covered in jewels and glitter.

Art and the Good Life

Art is used to provoke us to think about the human condition thoughtfully, it challenges us, and helps us to change the ways that we act and think. Art helps us to achieve the Good Life by broadening our perspective, helping us figure out our values. The piece of art that conveyed a Good Life theme in my opinion, was a photograph of Frida Kahlo laying in her hospital bed, sketching. This art depicts the theme of Embodying, the importance of the body in the pursuit of finding the Good Life. Art was one of Frida Kahlo's outlets as she recovered from her accident. During her time recovering, there wasn't really anything she could do except for art. The Good Life is all about adapting to our circumstances and still finding the beauty in them, despite how bad things may seem. During her time of darkness and pain, Frida made art. She was able to channel her pain into something beautiful, rather than completely breaking down and falling into a depression. Life is all about our reactions to the things that are thrown at us and I think this photograph of her laying down in her hospital bed with an easel depicts strength and vulnerability which are two major aspects of the Good Life.

Created By
Grace Murray

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