Good Life Tour of the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art Cooper Goetz


January 25th, 2017. A day I shall never forget. This particular date will always remain close to my heart for it was the day that I first visited the Harn Muse-Okay, let me stop right there. I'm not going to sit here and say that "The day I visited the Harn Museum was the most important day of my life", because its not. Frankly, February 12th 2016, as that was the day I became a Florida Gator. Now, don't get me wrong, I loved going to the Harn, as I personally love art. I'm a big fan of van Gogh, but who isn't (other than Dutch citizens it the late 1880s). I'm also big into modern and minimalist art. The biggest item currently on my bucket list is to own an original piece of artwork. So, any trip to an art museum is a good time. For me, the Harn had a bit too much Frieda Kahlo, but I was able to look past that. Overall, visiting the Harn was a very enjoyable experience that did in fact stir some emotions within me. It's really a blessing that this class made me go to the museum, because I may have not taken advantage of having a free museum on campus, i decision I would have greatly regretted. Art can come in an infinite number of mediums, and its impact on people is always very personal. That is my favorite thing about art. Though I may be looking at a piece that thousands of others had, its meaning is always special for me.

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist

For my focus on the technique of the artist, I quickly found myself drawn to Francis Criss' work Jefferson Market Courthouse. Criss' focus and ability to draw the viewers eye to the titular courthouse is both obvious and a bit shrouded. Seeing the piece in person definitely helped me pick up on some of the less obvious standouts of the work. Had I just seen this painting online or in a book, I would have seen the main shape, and outrageous color, of the building and then continued on. However, compared to the other works near it, Criss' painting drew me in with the color and then showed me the other splendors it had to offer. While the orange tint of the courthouse does flash its importance compared to the other building around it in the photo i took, seeing it in person offers a whole different story. Not only does the painting benefit from the distinction of the buildings colors, but the pale colors of the wall also highlight this work. Seeing it in person, the work instantly demands your attention, as, being mounted on such a wall, it instantly pops out. It also breaks its frame, and even more so grabs your attention. While all the other works stay within their boundaries, Criss' work, specifically the spire at the top of the courthouse, juts out of the painting onto the rest of the blank canvas. Truly, this work was a spectacle to see in person. It communicated just how incredible, intricate, and interesting some parts of society, such as a courthouse can be. We forget, when we go to places such as this in real life, that these places are often the life works of people. This work made me feel moved, and left me wanting to walk around a city and gawk at some amazing feats of architectural design.

Design of the Museum

If there was ever a part of the museum that blew me away in its design, it was definitely this wall of ceramics, found in the Asian Collection of the Harn. This design was so ingenious. The red brown wood perfectly contrasts a large majority of the ceramics, and makes them seemingly pop out at you. This whole room was designed in this fashion, but this wall specifically spoke to me from a design standpoint. All of the unique shades of vases work so perfectly against the consistent background. It allows each and every work in this small section to really shine. The jade pottery in the center specifically really jump from the display. It just was genius to design the room with so much wood, as the unusual choice of backing for art only works with these 3d, brightly colored ceramics. Had this been the room which featured Criss' work, that piece would have been lost, as the orange courtroom would have clashed and melded with the wood surrounding the work. Clearly, the designer of this room knew exactly what kind of work here. It made me feel more blown away by the ceramics on display than I would have been. They all just seemed so much more elegant in my eye when seen in this enviornment. My biggest regards to the designer for such a beautiful feat of understated interior engineering.

Art and Core Values

Ah, yes, we've finally reached it. Now, I can talk about my unequivocal favorite piece of art in the entire museum. If I could buy this piece of artwork or have ten thousand dollars, I would be short ten thousand dollars. This work is by Yayoi Kusama, and is titled Nets-Infinity (TWOS). It provides such an important message for society and for my life. I will, frankly, never forget this specific piece of art, that's how much I loved it. So, without further ado, Here is the painting:

Beautiful isn't it?

This piece is not for everyone, and it could easily be passed up by some. What's important to notice is that the white spots between the red paint in this piece is blank canvas. For me, this evoked me core value of taking advantage of our faults. Many artists would see blank canvas parts as a failure or a distraction, but Kusama makes it the main event. The red "net" pattern only exist to draw your eyes to the blank canvas fragments. I saw the blank parts of the canvas as societal traditional faults that I am unable to cover up. So, instead, I must find a way to make the faults seem beautiful and work to my advantage. That is the message that Kusama passed on to me. I cannot even describe the emotion I felt looking at this painting. I stood in front of it for probably 5-10 minutes, and only moved on because I didn't want to seem weird. Frankly, this work just makes me better understand my flaws and see them more as what makes me great than what makes me "incomplete".

Art and The Good Life

For my last subject, I present four separate works. They are, from top left to bottom right, Dream Police by Jackie Nickerson, Belinda, Chick and Clock by Alessandra Sanguinetti, New York by Helen Levitt, and Russkie #92 by Anastasia Khoroshilova. Together, these works wove an important lesson about the good life. These four photos were taken on four different continents, each in a different niche, level, and situation of society. All four people, or groups of people, seem happy or contended with their current situation. None of them, however, follow the specific "good life" that I have always wished to achieve. None of them seem at all wealthy, and some very unlucky and impoverished, but yet, they all seem content. This work challenges us to change the way we see the good life. The good life isn't just obtained through physical possessions, social standing, and what kind of food you eat. Good life is obtained through how you play with the hand you are dealt. These four works, together, help me to realize the physical difference between myself and the other billions around the world. But it also helps me see that they are just as capable to reaching the good life as I am. It shows me that even though society tries to convince us otherwise, the good life is obtained not just by those who are fortunate enough to be born in a certain corner of the globe. We cannot see ourselves as greater than those whom we deem "less lucky" as they may be closer to obtaining the "good life" than we are. We may se ourselves as luckier, but we don't always know who the truly lucky ones are. We must accept that we are not unlike those who seem so different than us, and work together so that we can all get to have a "good life".

Created By
Cooper Goetz


Created with images by jared422_80 - "Gainesville - Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art" • junjiali - "van gogh starry sky oil painting"

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