Art In The Good Life The harn museum of art

The Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum of Art

Introduction: The Harn museum is a museum found on the University of Florida campus. It is free for students to attend and is open from around midday to late afternoon every day. If the IUF 1000 course was not required, I doubt the vast majority of students would set aside the time to walk through a building lined with old, boring paintings. The reality is that many of these paintings are new, or they are portrayed through a modern lens. There is truly something for everyone in there. Even if still art is not someone's "thing", they should still expose themselves to a different art form than the one that's more commonly pumped through lengths of cord with small speakers at the end. For many college students, art is defined by artists like Kanye. It is important to step out of one's comfort zone every once in a while, even if it is simply for the sake of expanding the intellectual horizon.

Medium of Art

Photo of Artwork titled "Gate #2" by Ross Bleckner
Me in front of "Gate #2"

This painting is found in the first room one walks into when visiting the Harn. This painting immediately caught my attention for its size and boldness. I was drawn to the cool tones that somehow seemed to glow like the neon signs that are so common to Times Square. My friends pointed out that it was hard to look at, as it also serves as an optical illusion. I slowly nodded my head in agreement, but stayed entranced by the painting. It was strange how the painting made me feel so small, yet not alone. I felt included in a bigger part of something. The lines created life and movement. The glowing also represented life within the painting. The painting seemed to be suspended at a certain point in its history, forever depicting a frozen clip of time. The keyhole in the middle of the work created a sense of mystery, as though there was more to be uncovered. Seeing the painting in real life made it easier to feel encapsulated by its sheer size and grandeur. The picture truly does not do it justice. The description revealed that the artist thought the work evoked a "momentary schizophrenia". I agree with this assessment in that the painting assails the onlooker and makes them forget about the real world around them as they try to grasp the meaning and reality behind the work.

Design of the Museum

Myself in front of the Frida Kahlo movie exhibit, which is opposite of the picture below.
A picture at the end of the Frida Kahlo exhibit as it transitions into a different exhibit. Far in the backgound, one can see the entrance to the Zen garden area exhibit.

I chose this exhibit for the architectural design portion because I think it encompassed the variety found at the Harn and at most art museums. The second picture is of the exhibit immediately following the Frida Kahlo exhibit. The end of the Frida Kahlo exhibit has a separated area showing a documentary about Kahlo. This excluded area allows the viewer to become entirely surrounded by the work. Coming out of it, one sees the view pictured in the second image. The next area grasped my attention because it seemed to ingenious to me. I never would have thought to put blocks of wall in the middle of the room. One would think they would make the room feel more enclosed and tight, but it did the opposite. By having the extra wall space, the art creates the illusion of endlessness. The art feels more connected and it is easier to see the commonalities found in the individual works within a specific exhibit. I also enjoy this picture because it shows the stark contrast between different exhibits at the Harn. The entrance to the southeast Asian exhibit can be seen in the background. This symbolizes the special kind of diversity found within an art museum that cannot be easily found elsewhere.

Art and Core Values

A picture of myself in front of "Scenographer's Mind VII" by Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Another angle of "Scenographer's Mind VII" by Eija-Liisa Ahtila

This photograph shows a woman tending to her young child on the same table she works on. The work depicts the relationship between a working woman and the traditional motherly role. As a female student working to obtain a civil engineering degree, this image resonated with me on multiple levels. I want to have a job and be able to sustain myself comfortably without the help of others, but I also want to be a mother and have a family and "play house". The description says the woman in the image creates structures in the real world and in her mind. The idea that the complexities in real life can be translated into one's mind is both exhilarating and frightening. I can create anything I think up. I can build my own world, but it all goes away as soon as I open my eyes. Just like in my life currently, I can look toward the future and make up scenarios as much as I want, but I must always come back and do something about the present.

Art and the Good Life

Myself in front of the image titled "Prism" by Marilyn Minter
Print titled "Prism" by Marilyn Minter

I found this piece to be extremely intriguing, as it was part of a n exhibit centralized around female artists. It is easy to look at it and think of an advertisement in a fashion magazine. It is reminiscent of so much of the media people see everyday. I wondered what Minter's intent was for photographing such a scene. Knowing the exhibit contained female artists my first thought was that this is a work of appreciation for women. Once I looked more into it, I found it is almost the exact opposite. While there is a hint of admiration and celebration, the main point is a satirical one. Minter is criticizing vanity and the sexualization of a female body. These ideas tie into the reasoning behind art. If art is simply for art's sake, then vanity must be an art form. Aesthetic qualities are vitally important. In Winterson's "Art Objects", it is mentioned that one must acquire a "palate" to be able to appreciate art. Has society, or the largest "palate", grown to be okay with sexualizing women? At this point, the oppressed is stuck in between two worlds, similar to WoHaw. The world of glitz and glamour that society idolizes, and the world of individuality. This brings about the issue of I vs. We in society and what that means.

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