Tour of the Harn Zachary Zeller

On February 28, 2017 I ended the month by attending the Harn Art Museum in Gainesville, Florida. In this post I will recount my experience, share my thoughts, and discuss some components of art and its relationship to the "Good Life". I will focus on four pieces dealing with medium, design, core values, and the Good Life theme of celebrating.

MEDIUM.

Untitled. Picture taken on 2/28/17 at Harn Museum of Art by Zachary Zeller.

Although I was unable to find any information on the "artist", I found this exhibit to be the most striking and upfront in its message. This film was projected on the wall of a corridor leading into the "African Masquerade" exhibit. However, you do not see the projection until you have entered the room completely. Once in the room, you see a projection of traditional African dancing on one wall, and a mirror on the other. Suddenly the line between you and the film is blurred as you see people dancing around your body. You are abruptly placed into the context of the art in which you are about to admire. It almost felt uncomfortable to be face to face with all of these people, especially as an outsider. It was interesting and refreshing, however, to feel like the art was looking back at you. In a way, they are reciprocating your gaze and confronting you, rather than being passively watched. This technique was a great primer for the rest of the exhibit, as I found myself face to face with disconcerting african masks and figures.

DESIGN.

Harn Museum of Art "Rock Garden". Taken on 2/28/17 at Harn Museum of Art by Zachary Zeller.

One of my favorite aspects of the museum was the encapsulation of outdoor space. This particular garden was found just outside of the Asian ceramics exhibit. The tranquil nature of the water, plants and rocks complimented the pottery well. It was made clear that the garden was a piece of artwork itself , evidenced by the "framing" of the space from the inside. Despite this, the garden brings in a much needed nature element that reflects the subject matter of much of the art on the inside of the exhibit.

CORE VALUES.

Scenographer's Mind VIII. Eija-Liisa Ahtila 2002. Picture taken on 2/28/17 at Harn Museum of Art by Zachary Zeller.
Scenographer's Mind VIII. Eija-Liisa Ahtila 2002. Picture taken on 2/28/17 at Harn Museum of Art by Zachary Zeller.

This piece caught my eye due to its profound ambiguity. The photographer is able to capture a story in the subtlety of everyday life. Ahtila is known for her efforts showcasing the magic in everyday life. As we can see in the above photograph, a new mother is both tending to her child and designing a model building. The juxtaposition of the two is initially confusing, but upon further introspection I began to observe the architectural intricacies of the model. The model is not intended to be scaled up and manifested in the real world due to the lack of utility or function. The model is merely a creation of the woman's roaming mind. It is surely interesting to be present at this moment in time, in which the subject is in the midst of being creative while tending to her daily duties. Although I don't fully understand the ambiguous message of the photograph, I appreciate the feeling it evokes. It reminds me of my own personal desire to find meaning in even the most mundane environments.

Scenographer's Mind VIII. Eija-Liisa Ahtila 2002. Picture taken on 2/28/17 at Harn Museum of Art by Zachary Zeller.

CELEBRATING THE GOOD LIFE.

"Day of the Dead Figures". Date unknown. Artist unknown. Picture taken on 2/28/17 at Harn Museum of Art by Zachary Zeller.

This sculpture of "Day of the Dead" figures was a comforting sight. I have always found the Dia de los Muertos celebration to be an interesting and meaningful part of Mexican culture. It reminded me of the "Celebrating" module from "What is the Good Life?", in which we discussed the importance of specific times, moods, and events that remind us of our human existence. Of course, Dia de los Muertos is an extravagant celebration, but it is also a meditation on the joys, sorrows, and other emotions that we experience in our lives. It encourages us to live with meaning in the short time that we have. These are themes that any one pondering the "Good Life" must confront. Although small and non imposing, this piece is a physical representation of the complex human condition that is brought up every year on Dia de los Muertos.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.