My Experience at the Harn Museum of Art By Nilan Bhakta

I went into the Harn Museum with the sole purpose of completing the assignment for Good Life, however as I walked through the museum I genuinely enjoyed looking at the pieces of art. As a senior in high school I took Art 1 and lets just say art isn't my forte. With that said, I was introduced to many different types of art and this helped me understand, appreciate, and enjoy the exhibits at the Harn.

Technique of the Artist

This piece of art by Yvonne Jacquette looks like an incredibly simple aerial view of a city and its architecture. It isn't until one realizes that in order to produce this piece, Jacquette had to carve the image on a piece of wood with a gouge and then transfer this onto a piece of paper, a process similar to a stamp, known as woodcut printmaking. She carved out all the white seen in this piece "Midtown Composite" with extreme detail which is why many of her woodcuts took her a year or more to complete. In high school Art 1, I had a similar assignment, however instead of carving on wood, we used a piece of felt. I had to start over at least 5 times, because in printmaking, if you accidentally mess up and carve too much out, there is no going back. My personal struggles with this style and technique of art has made me greatly appreciate the precision and patience that artists like Jacquette possess.

Design of the Museum

This wing of the museum was organized in a way so that visitors would be able to not only see, but also compare various indigenous tools and artifacts from all around the world. The smaller artifacts seen in the images above were found around the edges of the large room. The two large artifacts are alone in the middle of the room, most likely to draw emphasis to them as they probably served major roles during their respective time periods and marked technological advancement. The natural lighting from the garden on the center of the room also is aesthetically pleasing, but may also serve a more realistic purpose. The glare created by the natural right immediately drew me in to the two large artifacts in the middle and then I made my way around the wing seeing the smaller exhibits with smaller artifacts. It was also interesting to see how materials for different artifacts changed depending on the culture and region that they were made in.

Art and Core Values

Ganesha, or Ganapati, is probably the most worshiped god of the Indian pantheon, and my household was no exception. I grew up to my grandparents stories of how Ganesha got his elephant head, and although my parents and I converted to christianity, I've always associated hinduism and Ganesha with my grandparents home. I used to live with my grandparents in Austin, Texas up until the 5th grade when my parents and I moved a few miles away. I never seemed to miss them because I would visit all the time, but now going to college at the University of Florida, thousands of miles away from home, this 13th century sculpture known as "Dancing Ganesh" evokes nostalgia for my home in Austin, my parents, and my grandparents since my grandparents have a very similar sculpture in their home. Spiritually is a huge part of my grandparents lives, and although we are a different religion than them, I still share the same core value and understand the importance of religion in my life.

Art and the Good Life

These two prints were made by the Puerto Rican printmaker Rafael Tufiño, who created a number of prints that celebrate his cultural heritage. Both of these pieces are from the "Coffee Portfolio" he released in 1954 and depict various aspects of coffee production and the lives of the workers. What strikes me is that in the print on the left the workers appear to be miserable, yet on the print on the right the workers who are no longer working for the day are enjoying themselves. This relates not only to Puerto Rican life, but American life as well. Many people do not necessarily enjoy going to work, and thus a good work-life balance is necessary in order to live the "good life." Without happiness when you are not working, it may feel like one is constantly stuck in the work life. In my opinion, and as seen in Tufiño's art , you need to work hard, but to also "play hard" and enjoy your free time with those that you care about.

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