Exploring the Good Life My day at the Harn museum of art

While walking through the Harn Museum of art I gained a greater appreciation for art. The museum gave me new insight into what the good life is and why there are so many different views on the subject. If one studies the artwork more deeply then just at a surface level, then they are able to find and understand the deeper meaning that the author put into the artwork. With this meaning in mind, one can achieve a better understanding of their idea of the Good Life.

While walking through the Harn Museum of Art, this image of a woman's mouth that is painted gold. It immediately caught my eye because my favorite type of artwork is portraiture and the bright colors attracted my eye. I looked at image and the way it was staged and found much more meaning in it then I originally thought was in it. The piece is showing a woman of color with painted lips and extravagant jewelry on. The artist also uses color to draw attention to the piece. The gold jewelry and lips contrast with the royal blue clothing extremely well causing it to draw the attention of anyone walking through the exhibit. I read the card and found out the name of the piece is Wangechi Gold #6 done by Marilyn Minter in 2009. She focused heavily on color contrast and drawing the attention of someone walking by so she could draw the attention of people that may not have looked at her work. This piece to me shows lots of history because it seems to be a piece about a woman's right of passage in her culture and how she becomes a woman.
The Asian Art Collection Area was a space that immediately caught my eye. Being an architecture major, I notice the way a space is utilized. In this space the first thing that stuck me was the openness of it. You look into it and see natural lighting from the garden and wood walls and floors that make the area seem more intimate but still open. Then, as the pieces of art become smaller and smaller, the space they are places it becomes smaller and smaller, making the person walking through the museum more focused on the pieces and more and more intimate with the smaller pieces. It had just the right amount amount of natural lighting. The lighting was not enough that it made the space seem bright and took away from the intimacy, but was just enough to actually ad to the intimacy of the space and still draw bypasses into the exhibit.
This image of soldiers helping an injured man get to safety represents my core values of service and goodwill. It represents service because the two soldiers are helping a man they have more than likely never met and are quite possibly putting themselves in danger to save this man's life. They are willing to give their life for the people they serve and protect, even if it is a person they have never met before. The value of goodwill is also clearly show in this image. The soldiers are again putting their life on the line for someone they have never met in order to better that person's life. Also, they are saving this man for the good of society because the man in the picture will more than likely contribute to society in one way or another.
These four masks caught my attention and once i looked deeper into what they were, I discovered that they were actually ceremonial masks used by the Mende women in southern Sierra Leone for initiation into womanhood. These headdresses show the Mende people's idea of a good life. They must use these masks to go through their initiation and this initiation is one of the key elements in their cultures idea of the good life. At first glance, these pieces draw you in because of their intricacy and the interesting way they look. Once one look at the pieces more deeply, they start to notice many parts that directly reflect the values of the good life in Mende culture. For example, the eye slits are very small and if someone was wearing the mask, they would be almost unable to see, meaning they would have to trust the guidance of their leaders in order to move around. This aspect of following the leaders of the culture is very important to the Mende people and is a major key in the good life.

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