Good Life: Tour of the Harn Sky McIlvanie

Medium of the Art

This 20th century Face Mask, made by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, really intrigued me. The complexity of the design, as well as the assimilation of materials used just to produce this piece of artwork is incredible. It is comprised of wood, pigment, fabric, cowrie shells, beads, and feathers. Furthermore, the fact that the mask is worn for boys' initiation ceremonies as well as in combat coincide with the bulging eyes and represent somewhat of a fearless nature. I think it is also particularly interesting that this mask was introduced by a woman and worn by men.

Design of the Museum

I really enjoyed this little section of the Harn the most. The enclosed space you see behind me is the Paula and Marshall Criser Garden which was created by landscape designer Aaron Lee Wiener. The simplicity of this corner allows the museum goer to sit quietly on the bench and gaze into the abyss and enjoy the aesthetic of the garden. The natural light and bamboo plant had a calming effect on me and I found the feminine statue in the middle to be enlightening. She appears to be lazily reaching over her head, perhaps as a form of rejuvenation or awakening. Overall, I really just enjoyed how peaceful and elegant this little corner is. I felt so cozy as I sat and smiled at the statue in front of me.

Art and Core Values

I found this film, Semiotics of the Kitchen, to be incredibly moving. It features a woman parodying the famous chef, Julia Child, during the rise of the feminist art movement. She begins casually displaying and naming various kitchen appliances; however, as the video progresses, her actions become increasingly more violent. This video demonstrates the departure of women from the "housewife" standard. In a sense, this video is incredibly liberating to feminists and most women, as it boldly declares, "I will not be chained by society's oppressive beliefs on how I should lead my life!" As a Women's Studies minor and avid supporter of equality of all ethnicities, genders, races, religions, etc. this piece of artwork truly spoke to me.

Art and the Good Life

This piece of artwork, photographed by Justine Kurland, is entitled Sheep Wranglers. It is an idyllic pastoral setting that evokes a freeing feeling within me. The sunlight peeks through the branches of the trees and casts down upon the girls lackadaisically lying in the grass. It is uncomplicated without the presence of the opposite sex, and captures a childlike vision. For me, I find that this purity and pleasantness brings about peace, which I believe is an essential ingredient to achieving the Good Life. Rather than perceiving this photograph as ignorant, not acknowledging that there are definite stressors in the world, I see it as a safe place one can travel to when they feel overwhelmed by the weight of the world.

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