My Experience at the Harn Museum Juliana Navarro


Frank Stella. American, born 1936. Zandvoort, 1981. Mixed media on etched magnesium, Gift of Martin Z Margulies. 2004.18.1

This selfie of me with Frank Stella's etched magnesium sculpture, Zandvoort, is almost comical in its resemblance to the actual art. The low quality iPhone selfie doesn't display the entire sculpture, and the parts it does display look incomplete. In person, the sculpture is eye-catching and is easily the most striking piece of art in the room. It's impossible to look away from. Once I realized the work was done in magnesium I was quite surprised and appreciative. This uncommon medium gives the art an extra edge, daring viewers to question why exactly the artist chose magnesium, and causing me to imagine the artist creating each aspect of the sculpture. Why did he choose certain colors and shapes in each part, and what emotions do these selections convey? Or are they random? The artwork helped me to engage my curiosity, making me feel inquisitive and excited in the process.

Design of the Museum

My boyfriend and I standing in front of the mirror leading to the African Exhibit

I found the exhibit with the African Art to be particularly appealing, possibly because the entrance was so delightful. The hallway before the exhibit had a large mirror, and the back wall had a projection of an African tribal dance so that it appeared that the visitors were part of the scene in question. Once you walk into the exhibit, you are greeted by real photographs, masks, and canvases of African tribes. The arrangement is all very unique and eclectic, contributing to an overall positive and thought-provoking experience. The exhibit features things that are vastly unfamiliar to me, yet still manages to make me feel welcome. I know next to nothing about African tribal art, yet I found myself smiling at the photographs, wondering about the masks, and examining the canvases. This art is warm and friendly in a way that ties the exhibit together nicely.

Art and Core Values

Justine Kurland. American, born 1969. Sheep Wranglers, 2001, Satin finish UV laminated C-print.

This artwork immediately caught my eye because I noticed school girls in uniforms, and immediately reminisced on fond memories about my time at an all-girls parochial school. I think the values of love, peace, and friendship are demonstrated in this artwork. However, the most important value in this to me is spending time in nature. Being outside is the only place I can really clear my head and think. Sometimes I feel like my life can be overwhelming or stressful, and enjoying the outdoors is the only way to destress. The girls in this artwork seem so happy and at ease that their emotions seem to transcend over to me. I feel their peace and relaxation by simply looking at this C-print, helping me to really understand how much I cherish and treasure nature.

Art and the Good Life

Angel Botello. Puerto Rican, born Spain, 1913-1986. El Encuentro (The Encounter), c. 1950. oil on burlap.

I think that this painting relates to the theme, Fighting for the Good Life, above all else. The painting depicts a time period in Haiti in which natives, Spanish settlers, and Africans all found themselves trying to reach the good life on the same island. The theme, Fighting for the Good Life, focuses on the conflicts that arise between individuals in their pursuit of the good life. This painting captures this political event well. The Spanish settlers genuinely believed that the best possible life would be achieved in their conquests of the west, yet they enslaved Africans and eliminated natives along the way. Their quest for the good life involved making a generally very bad life for others in the process. This painting really conveys the emotional aspects of this struggle, helping viewers to understand the fight for the good life in an illustrative manner.

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