Experiencing the Good Life A tour of the harn museum of art- Amanda Post

A photo of myself and the beautiful "Black Flame" sculpture by TANAKA Tomomi

Medium is one of the least discussed aspects of art, and yet one of the most important. Without our realizing it, the medium of the art we see directs and dictates our response to it. Black Flame for example, a beautiful modern sculpture featured in the Harn, utilizes dark stone to its advantage. In a photo, the sculpture simply looks like an intricate swirl of gray, but in person the technique of the artist coupled with the use of stone somehow makes it feel like you are looking at a real fire. You almost expect it to be giving off heat. It communicated to me a sense of realism that you just do not get when you look at a picture.

Another photo of me, enjoying the design of the Harn's garden

Nature is art, and the design of the museum and the garden specifically challenged me to see the art in more than just the paintings and the photographs. Landscaping truly is a type of art as well, as is perfectly exemplified in the placement and species of plants, the addition of the waterfall, and the serenity of the walk around the pond in this garden. I also appreciated that the garden was located at the end of the museum, so that you could enjoy the art displayed, walk outside and enjoy the art of nature, then upon your return see the art you just saw in a new light.

Yet another selfie taken shamelessly in the middle of a museum

Art is supposed to make you feel. La Esfera (or The Sphere) by Fanny Rabel is a striking piece that perfectly captures what it's like to feel trapped, whether it is within your circumstances or your own mind. As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, I value freedom and peace, and all of this was invoked by the etching of the girl with the caged bird. When I looked at it I immediately related to it, it made me sad, then reflective, then appreciative, all within a few seconds. That is the mark of a truly great piece of art, and is a perfect example of the way art can make us remember what we really value.

The last of the selfies, I promise. For now.

Art is supposed to make us ask questions. In "Road Worker" a slightly ambiguous charcoal sketch by Diego Rivera, we are left with many questions. Is this a grown man working hard to support his family? Is it a child forced to work too young, like we see in The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt? Are his working conditions fair? With a few simple strokes, this piece of work had me invested in the subject's life. The work also can signify the Good Life theme of self-actualization, if looked at from a certain perspective. If you see this man as a contented, dignified worker of the earth, you could draw many parallels between him and Vasudeva, the enlightened ferryman from Siddhartha. Plow in hand, you can imagine him peacefully listening to and learning from the soil, as Vasudeva did from the river. That a simple sketch such as this could invoke so many different thoughts is remarkable, and credit is due to the artist, no matter his original intention for the drawing.

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