I had been to the Harn Museum of Art once before I visited it for this project, but it was during an event where my focus was away from the artworks. My visit this time was more attentive, and as I toured it's halls, several works caught my eye. I would like to detail my experience there in this spark story.
One reason I find art to be so enjoyable is that an artist may use practically anything as a medium, even objects that most people would never associate with the category of fine art. During my visit to the Harn I stumbled across such a work in the form of this lamp. Eighteen-Light Pond Lily Lamp is an early 20th century piece by Louis Comfort Tiffany, and I was honestly surprised to find it there, as it seemed out of place in a room full of two-dimensional photographs. As a three-dimensional artwork, a two-dimensional picture of it does not communicate all of what it has to offer it's viewer. It is meant to be viewed in the round, the soft light of it's bulbs casting a subtle glow on it's surroundings. It's elegance briefly captivated my eyes in a way that paintings are simply unable, and the light had a soothing effect on me. Despite that, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of melancholy in the way the lights droop downward, as if the lilies were sad for some reason.
The Harn stands out to me compared to other art museums I have been to with it's use of outdoor space. The picture above is of one such area, which is just outside a room containing artworks from different regions of Asia. There was also a rock garden. I am a person who loves the outdoors very much, as camping trips in the Smoky Mountains are some of my fondest childhood memories, so spaces such as these are wonderful in my opinion. The whole area is clearly visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows in that wing of the museum and guests are able to walk through it as well. The fact that the entire wall is essentially a window also lends itself to the atmosphere of the room through the natural sunlight that pours in and Illuminates the art. It has quite a different feel from the rest of the museum, almost as if you are actually transported to the past when the art was new.
Art, in many ways is a medium through which emotions and opinions are able to permeate through to society even when they are upsetting ones. When taken at face value, Frida Kahlo with Classic Magenta isn't much of a spectacle: it's just portrait of the Mexican painter. However, Frida Kahlo herself was an artist who poured her heartbreak and pain into her work, and such honesty is a virtue to me. I hold the strong opinion that having honestly with oneself and others is important in life, and I am unwilling to compromise in that belief. Frida's paintings, although not on display at the Harn, speak to me as a woman and I can feel the grief they exude. For context, Frida Kahlo suffered a brutal bus crash as a young woman that permanently injured her. She lived in bed for a long time before regaining her ability to walk, and her physical capabilities were severely constricted for the remainder of her life. Her injuries also rendered her body incapable of withstanding the stress of pregnancy, and she suffered a miscarriage. In addition to her physical pain she endured, she also dealt with extreme grief over the loss of her baby, and to top all of this off, her husband was a womanizer who cheated on her on several occasions. The fact that such feelings can be expressed in art is something I love. This portrait of her reminds me of her hard life and the way I have vowed to never conceal my feelings too much from the people I care about. I have no illusion about the truth that I am young, and have not yet reached the point in my life where I could consider marriage or children, but Frida's struggle still speaks to me in a way I think all women can understand.