Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum Christopher O'Neill

Special thanks to James for giving his generous permission to use the picture above.

Introduction

A couple weeks ago, I visited the Harn Museum of Art for Good Life. While I explored the museum, I witnessed the wondrous designs that decorated the halls of the various exhibits of the museum. I was also able to take note of the various techniques and styles of art, and experience the effects of the art on my perception of reality by seeing works of art in person. I found that certain works of art appealed to and even altered my perception of the Good Life.

Technique of the Artist

"Road Worker" - Diego Rivera (c. 1943)

One of the most fundamental aspects of the works of art that contributed the art's ability to influence my perspective was the technique the artists used to construct their visual poetry. For example, the technique Diego Rivera used in his work, "Road Worker," emphasizes his portrayal of the lower classes during the era. The use of charcoal on rice paper, inexpensive materials, enhances the simplistic view and cheap value that society places on common minimum wage workers. Also, the coarse strokes of the charcoal that paint the image of a road worker highlight the coarse aesthetics that are attributed to manual labor and laborers.

Design of the Museum

Asian Art Exhibit

Another fundamental factor that affected my perception of the art in the museum was the design of the exhibits in which the art resided. Differentiation in lighting as well as modern, contemporary, and plain exhibit themes set the mood and setting of the experiences I had with the works of art. For example, the wooden flooring and dim lighting of the Asian art exhibit made feel as if I were inside a dojo. Thus, the setting contributed to my understanding of Asian culture in addition to analyzing the Asian works of art within the exhibit. Overall, I liked this exhibit the most due to the serene aura I felt permeate from within it.

Art and Core Values

"Family" - Augustin Cardenas (1991)

The ability of art to encapsulate a core value to which the perceiver can relate is yet another factor that can effectively impact / revolutionize the perception and understanding of the individual that observes the art. For example, as it's name states, family is the core value that the piece of art above embodies and portrays. When I regarded this work of art, I felt an immense sense of love, as I reflected on my closest family members. The art made me realize that family is not only a core value of mine, but a core value that is universal throughout all cultures. I made the discovery that through common values as simple as family, we are all connected.

Art and the Good Life

Me next to the "Seated Bodhistattva" - Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910)

While exploring the Harn, I came across an eerily familiar figure in a work of art called the "Seated Bodhistattva." This Buddha-like figure reminded me of Siddhartha, and likewise gave me the impression that the work of art embodied seeking the good life as well as making sacrifices for the good life. The art depicts a bodhisattva (Buddhist priest) that could enter a state of true enlightenment, but does not, for the sake of helping those that suffer in the world. This state of being that the priest has achieved is a mirror state to what I wish to achieve. I wish to learn all that I can academically so I can approach my own version of enlightenment, and then help others to make the world a better place, and thus make everyone happy, so that everyone can come closer to true enlightenment.

Credits:

James gives permission to use the cover photo.

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