Korean Buddhist Statue. The Swastika once represented peace and goodness. No credit given at museum.
Medium of the Art: This statue, sculpted with wood and polychrome, could not express the same beauty through a painted canvas or any other medium. The natural materials contribute to the peacefulness of this work. The ornate carvings on wood are mesmerizing, and emphasize the message of peace and goodness that the swastika originally stood for. This statue has symmetry which contributes to a strong sense of balance, a central theme in Buddhism. This piece made me feel oddly connected to people of the past, notably people of a different nationality and religion. This is one of the most important purposes of art: it connects people who are separated by arbitrary divisions.
Design of the Museum: just outside of the Korean exhibit, the Harn has a lovely, small garden to walk through. It is filled with lush green plants and rocks. A bridge crosses over a small manmade stream, and walkers can listen to the water trickle. Just beyond the glass walls, museum goers can see the west side of campus. There is something striking about a lush green garden in a glass container in the middle of an urban campus. This garden is appealing because it is a place to stop absorbing new art, process what I have already seen, and let my mind wander in the tranquil quiet.
Tiergarten, Berlin, July 1 by Rineke Dijkstra
Art and Core Values: Dijkstra's photograph shows a girl in transition. The subject is around the age of thirteen, beginning the slow crawl from childhood to womanhood. Her messy hair and girlish shoes remind me of the days of my youth, running through the woods without any care in the world. She is wearing tight clothes, which are perfect for playing in before we are deemed too old to be protected from the ever-present male gaze. This photograph is beautiful and heartbreaking; it seems to capture innocence just before it is lost. It helps me understand the past ten years of my life in a new light as I transition into adulthood.
Core Values: Fighting for the Good Life. The Guerrilla Girls exhibit exemplifies fighting for the good life. A group of female artists makes large displays on sexism in the art world. They believe that women face unfair obstacles in daily life and especially in the art world, where women make up a low percentage of artists displayed in museums. The lack of representation in art leads to a lack of understanding of the challenges and lives of women in general. This particular piece rejects the idea that art should b beautiful first and foremost, choosing instead to be topical and challenging.