Harn Museum of Art Kendra Ragen's experience

I went to the Harn Museum of Art on Friday, September 9 and recognized many core values and was able to link them to my previous understandings of life as well as corroborating previously formulating ideas of the world. The museum illustrates an international view of culture and life and is able to convey this to the reader. Below are five pictures that depict criteria of art and the Good Life.

Unknown photographer. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. 2016. Photograph.

Design of the Museum

In the wing of the museum that focused on the culture and practices in Africa, there was an appealing set-up that illuminated the subject. The sect of the building was describing the White Mask Dance, an activity that conglomerates tribal communities. It consists of two main dances: one that elders of the community oversee and one later on around 2:00 AM that is more playful yet competitive. The architects manipulated the lighting in the museum to appear as if it is around the time that those dances typically are held. This makes the viewer feel as if he or she is more in touch with the ambiance of the actual dance to give him or her a more realistic approach of the event. I thought this was a creative and effective mechanism because the lighting did make me feel as if I was at the dance, especially with life-sized statues of people in costume central to the layout. I felt in touch with the scene and personally involved in the dance; the set up almost transcends the visitor from a viewer to a partaker.

White Mask Dance, Harn Museum of Art. Personal photograph by Kendra Ragen. 2016.

Art and Core Values

This sculpture, Dancing Ganesh, (this statue did not give the artist) describes a Hindi God with an elephant head and a potbelly. Ganesh also has a loyal mouse that is said to chew through obstacles. The God is iconic for the remover of hurdles and the essence of good fortune. I believe this relates to my core values to keep in touch with oneself and my goals. Ganesh is said to assist people to achieve their goals and to remind oneself of the importance to trump obstacles that may impede ultimate success; he also is the starter of beginnings, which to me is directly associated with achieving ultimate happiness. This God helps people get past obstacles; this can relate to outside forces (for example, other people that may hinder paths to achievement) or self-induced afflictions (emotional strife, lack of motivation, etc). I enjoyed this statue because it is representative of one of my values: expanding my abilities and striving for success while learning from failure. This statue invoked a feeling of motivation and support; two essential yet intangible personal values. The fact that this God is also intangible yet a support system made it analogous to my core values.

Dancing Ganesh, Harn Museum of Art. Personal photograph by Kendra Ragen. 2016

Medium of the Art

Pii Selon Pli, created by Akiyama Yo, is a Japanese sculpture made of stonewear. I found the material and texture to be idiosyncratic in person. It had a rough, almost peeling look about it. It had gradients of grey and multiple textures carved into it. I also found the size to be interesting, it seemed to be at least 1.5 meters, which, to me, was quite large. I do not think I would have gained the amount of appreciation I have for it if I had not seen it in person. The statue did not have a description of what it is supposed to represent so I concluded its purpose is for each individual to fabricate his or her own connection with it. Seeing it in person greatly helped me to achieve that; I was able to view it from different views and angles. I believe that the multitude of textures and gradients on a single colored material represents the different components of one's own composition. Everybody has his or her own physical body but on the inside (mental capacity) everyone has multiple talents and abilities and parts about themselves.

Pii Selon Pli. Harn Museum of Art. Personal photograph by Kendra Ragen. 2016.

Art and the Good Life

In this particular photograph, On the Truck, Lebanese/Syrian Border, taken by Rania Matar, I felt a connection to the Good Life. This picture invoked emotional sympathy for humanity and their strife unbeknownst to me. This picture speaks a thousand words; it describes the struggle for freedom and basic human rights to live in an area with safety and hope for a sustainable future. I believe this relates to the Good Life because it illustrates people trying to improve their condition; they are fleeing from the restraints in one country (from an oppressive government and surrounding conflict) in hopes to improve their lifestyle. This picture shows the necessity the world has to enable others basic human rights; the right to safety and the pursuit of happiness. We want to protect these rights and not allow the injustice in this photograph. People cannot achieve enlightenment and truth unless they are given basic amenities. This picture allows me to be grateful for the situation I am in but it also makes me want to assist others and show them the light of safety. This picture did an adequate job of making the viewer understand human rights and want to prevent injustices from occurring.

On the Truck, Lebanese/ Syrian Border. Harn Museum of Art. Personal photograph by Kendra Ragen. 2016

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