harn museum Clayton French

Although I admittedly do not have much of an eye for art, every now and then I find it refreshing to expose myself to it, as a sort of reminder of the various ways that people from around the world express themselves. While my form of expression stems from words and the strokes of a keyboard, others express themselves through pictures and strokes of paintbrushes, and it is captivating to immerse myself in these paintings and try to understand what the artist was feeling while they were creating their piece.

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist

When I was little, I was always attracted to those copper trinkets you would find people sporting outside their homes. Those dangling, copper wind chimes that would bounce around in the wind, casting the light in all different directions. As soon as I walked into the Harn this sculpture, the Old Man's Cloth, immediately grabbed my attention. It was reminiscent of those copper trinkets I was so fascinated with, both in color and the way it would bounce the light. While at fleeting glance it looked like an ordinary portrait, when I took a good look at it I could see the wrinkles and folds that contorted the "cloth" in every direction, resulting in the light being reflected on it no matter which direction it came from.

El Anatsui, Old Man's Cloth, 2003, (Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL). Taken February 24, 2017

Design of the museum

One section of the museum that I found particularly intriguing was the exhibition space in the beginning of the building. While the art itself in the section was lacking in comparison to other wings of the museum, I thought the layout of this area was one of the most visually striking. It served as a focal point for the museum, with connections to several other wings of art. Standing in the center of the exhibition, you felt surrounded by all different types of art. Not only this, it made it seem as though all the art was connected to each other in some way, despite being from different artists or even regions of the world. No matter where you went in the museum you could always go back to this central point, much like how no matter where in the world a piece of art came from, the purpose of the piece - to convey the artist's feelings and ideals - was shared between all art.

Photo taken February 24, 2017

art and core values

Being Puerto Rican, I carry great pride in my heritage and the culture from which I was born. As such, I was immediately drawn to this painting by Rafael Tufiño. When I looked at the painting, I felt an immense sense of pride, not just as a Puerto Rican but as a human. I felt proud of my ancestors before me, who slaved over manual labor in order to achieve their good life. If it weren't for them I would not be here today, working hard to achieve my good life in my own right. I felt a personal connection with the painting because even though times may be different now and I might not be working on farms, I am working hard in my own way so that I can build a life for myself and my family in the future, just as they had done in the past.

Rafael Tufiño, Cortador de caña, 1951 (Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL). Taken February 24, 2017

art and the good life

In the beginning of the semester, we studied the topic of "Thinking about the Good Life". During this, we recognize the fact that not everybody has the same idea about what it means to live the good life. I feel like this train of thought is perfectly illustrated in this Buddhist Plaque. At first glance, one may see the symbol on the plaque and be taken aback, believing it to be the swastika used by the Nazis as a symbol of hate in their campaign against the Jews. However, this same symbol has a completely different meaning in Eastern culture. In contrast, this symbol represents good fortune in the eyes of the Buddhists and those from Eastern cultures. The double meaning of the swastika symbol is a perfect representation of how one thing - whether it is an object, and ideal, or a symbol - can mean two completely different things to different people, and have different effects on their path to their good life.

Buddhist Plaque (Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL). Taken February 24, 2017

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