Harn Museum Spark Story Abigial O'donnell

I toured the Harn on March 15th and am so thankful for this project. It gave me an excuse to go and take some time to be surrounded by amazing works of art and pieces of other cultures and perspectives.

Medium of the art/ Technique
II-06-94 by Nancy Graves

This work is particularly unique. At first glance, the piece was just a metal sculpture with a glass accent, but after closer look, there's more to it. These elements are clearly observed in person, whereas the subtlety is hard to appreciate through a photograph. Aspects of the sculpture parallel images of a horseshoe crab, teeth and bone fragments, each representing a different field of study. The juxtaposition of somber elements, like bone, combined with whimsical elements, like musical notes, create an artistic contrast that is vividly appreciated in person due to the various angles of the composition.

Design of the Museum
The Garden, 3/15/17 at 4:19

This is definitely my favorite spot in the museum. This garden is so tranquil and beautiful. It is tucked away in the very back of the building, providing privacy from the interior exhibits. It is also artfully planted so that the outside world is hidden, giving a feeling of true privacy and solitude. The space, though small, is beautifully designed and doesn't feel over crowded or out of place. There is full access to the sunlight which lights up the adjacent room beautifully. I have visited the Harn before and always take a moment to visit this space and truly be in the moment.

Art and Core Values
Mama Baby, Tidal Pools, Trinidad, California by Justine Kurland

This work really made an impression on me. It is rather unconventional, but it represents quite a few ideas. For me, it is truly a work advocating feminism. The women pictured look totally at ease, comfortable in their own skin. It exudes confidence and a freedom of expression that isn't a part of modern society. For example, breast feeding in public is typically frowned upon, even though it is a totally normal, natural, vital process. This method of depicting feminism really grabbed my attention. Despite the nudity, this picture isn't sexual or erotic. In fact it is very innocent and pure in my opinion. I think this scene is a depiction of how the world should view mothers and women, in a nonsexual, natural light.

Art and the Good Life
Female Royal Ancestor Mask from the Kuba People

There was an entire wing dedicated to masks from different cultures. To me this tied into the theme of celebrating the good life. In many cases, the mask on display were worn as part of festivals and ceremonies, celebrations in some form or another. It was fascinating to see the ways in which different cultures represented the physical world as well as their beliefs and traditions in this form of art. Many groups dedicate days or weeks to these festivals and celebrate various aspects of their culture. Life, death, hunting for food, faith or dedication to a deity, or hope for a good harvest. The masks in the display were astoundingly intricate and the fact they were hand crafted shows how their makers were invested in the meaning behind each mask.

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