Good Life Tour of the HARN By Caleb Baum

Medium of the Art

There was an array of interesting arts form at the museum. I entered the museum and was greeted by various pieces. As I went through the exhibits there was one medium that stuck with me throughout my tour. The piece that I choose was called the “Green Square” and was completed in 1981. The artist is Richard Anuzkiewicz who was born in 1930 in Pennsylvania. This piece at first glance looks just like a green square with alternating lines around it. However, if it is a simple glance the viewer miss an important aspect of the painting. A unique feature to many of Anuzkiewicz’s works was that he incorporates optical allusions. In this art work, Anusziewicz utilizes tensions between flatness and volume, figure, and ground, as well as stillness and movement.

The visual effect that this work had was spectacular. The work was simple but at the same since it was only acrylic on a board. The artwork was simple but at the same time it was so much more than that. It was striking that as I looked at the work my eyes fell to Anusziewicz illusion and it seemed as I was looking at the painting was moving around and the green square was getting smaller. I was just amazed that someone could accomplish this is such simply manner. I feel that if people saw a picture of this work online or in a paper they lose the optical illusion and the ability to take in the work fully. Many social media sights have pictures with an optical effect but I have never seen one done by an artist. I am just so intrigued that a one-dimensional art form can have so many interesting aspects to it. It communicated to me that even though an artwork may seem simple it can have many layers and effects behind it. It made me feel excited since it was one of the first works I saw I was interested to see the many works that the museum had to offer.

Design of the Museum

The exhibit that I found the most interesting was the “Highlights of the African Collection”. This exhibit stood out to me more than the other due to the culture if the works. I am very fascinated about culture and history and this exhibit was right in line with my interest. The exhibit was interactive and was a culture that I had limited knowledge about. The exhibit had various artifacts of the African cultures and I found them all so fascinating. I was engrossed with all the masks and headdresses and the meanings behind them within the cultures. As I went through the various artifacts through the museum the stories behind them blew my mind. The details in the artwork were beautiful as well. The artifacts were so fascinating and beautiful. They were such detailed for being done by hand that I was amazed at their craftsmanship. Not only was the story behind these objects the layout and the spacing of the exhibit really added to it as well. This exhibit used multiple videos stations to explain the significance of these artifacts and that really added to my understanding of the ritual and its uses. Seeing the people use them in their festivities and for their primary use allowed me to appreciate more of its work.

The spacing of the items allowed me to appreciate the works as well. In other exhibits I sometimes felt crowded and overwhelmed with all the works around me. However, in this exhibit I like the separation of the artifacts. The fact that I could go from reading about the significance to a mask to a headdress to a wardrobe was fascinating. The variety was interesting as well because we were not always looking at one form of art but we were exposed to the various elements that built the cultures. Overall the exhibit made me feel a sense of amazement at the various arts forms of the people and the beauty of their work. This exhibit was far from what I expected to be at the HARN and I was so glad that I could take in this amazing opportunity to understand the culture of the various people. I have minimal exposure to the cultures and this opportunity allowed me to explore a subject of interest.

Art and Core values

The museum had numerous paintings representing values that could relate to everyone. There was one painting that stuck out to me the most and that was the “Three Men at Union Square”. Isabel Bishop painted the art work back in 1930. Even though it was painted almost ninety years ago, the values and message of the work continue to be relevant today. Bishop used the depicted women in many of her painting like this one. She would use them to symbolize American mobility, defying superficial standards of social class and background. The symbolism of the women in this painting lined of with one of my core values.

The core value that I related to this art work was that women deserve the same respect as men. This is a value that I have developed over time by seeing the conflicts my mother has encountered through her work and the hope that my two younger sisters will not have to deal with the same problems. In this art piece, we see three men standing around and acknowledging a working woman that is passing the gathering. It is obvious that the men have been working and have a degree of wealth associated to them. The women in the painting is fashionable as well and does not fit the stereotypical view of women at the time. The woman symbolizes that the American women struggle to be successful in a male dominated society. When I got the true meaning of the work I had a mix of feelings like shock and optimism. I was shocked that the working women of today are still seen as outsider to a degree. They experience many hardships within the workplace such as lower pay. I’m shocked that even though it has been almost 90 years since this painting women are still dealing with hardships they experienced back then. However, in 1930 there were many jobs that women were not allowed to hold many jobs and there has been progress since the year the painting was created. I am optimistic that the women’s movement will continue to make progress and resolve this issue for future generations. The work helped me better understand what I believe because it shows me where women started and how far they have progressed in society. Even though the situation is not ideal today, women are becoming more important to the work force and are playing more crucial roles in society.

Art and the Good life

The work that I related to a good life them was the photograph called “Frida Kahlo Rivera, Painter and wife of Diego Rivera” The whole exhibit described the life of Frida Kahlo and how great she was as a person. The good life theme that I related her life to was embodying the good life. Frida was not physically attractive and had a few physical abnormalities. When she was young she contracted polio and this caused damage to her right leg. When she was older she was also involved in a bus accident that her legs then fell victim to again. Another feature that was noticeable and many people view as not normal is her unibrow.

Due to her looks that fell out of the cultural norm she had to adjust her life not to fall victim to criticism. In the photo that I admired it said that she often wore dresses and skirts to hide the damage of her legs from people. However, these setbacks did not hold her back from being successful at painting. The unique feature about her and many of her painting was her uni-brow. In the photo, it is apparent she has a uni-brow and she has done nothing with her wardrobe or make up to cover up the uni-brow. She embraced her uni-brow and implemented it in many of her paintings and in her daily life. When she did not allow her uni-brow to be her downfall she embraced her imperfections of the societal views of normal and empowered many women to do the same. The artwork she has created is iconic due to this and has helped inspire numerous women. She utilized her “faults” similar to Chris Connolly and made the best of the situation she was presented.

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