The University of Florida's Harn Museum of Art defines itself by the breadth of its topics: exhibitions from African to Feminist art, pieces from European photographers to methods Korean art preservation give but a small glimpse into the variety that Harn seems to stand for. In this Good Life Tour, I was able to glean a larger theme from all of the rooms and hallways filled with frames, photographs, statues, and costumes: that to understand our own American culture is but a subset of a larger global history, all interconnected, paralleled, and needing to be understood before we can move on and construct our Good Lives. I highlight just four different sections from the Harn art museum in order to make sense of this grand global movement, taking with me an ounce of knowledge and hopefully a deeper perspective of other lives and cultures.
Part One: Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist
In digital form, this piece looks to be an unassuming portrait of New York City. But in person, the sheer size of the canvas, about 10 feet in height and 7 or 8 feet in width, reveals a painter's perspective of an urban landscape. Like a window into another world, the dark oils of the painting create a sense of depth that would have otherwise been lost on a laptop monitor or even a smaller frame.
Upon further examination of other pieces by Yvonne Jacquiette, I find her depiction of night time cityscapes to be engaging and powerful. Paired with the physicality of her giant canvases, we find a living and breathing world rather than just an oily version of it. Within this painting, called Chelsea Composite II, I felt a sense of wonder at being on the rooftops and being able to look at a lived-in location with a new eye and a new perspective.
Part Two: Design of the Museum