Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum of ArtBy: Milena Aimi
MEDIUM OF THE ART: To fully appreciate many artworks, one must view them in person because many paintings, sculptures, and drawings do not appear the same to the viewer when seen in a museum, in person, versus in a photograph. I saw this sculpture, "Nancy Graves", while touring the Harn which caught my attention because the mediums used are bronze with patina and glass. I thought it was interesting that more than one medium was used because it added different textures to the sculpture and made it colorful. I also found it striking that there were multiple components that made up the sculpture, such as musical notes and a horseshoe crab. When I first saw the sculpture I didn’t even see the crab, I saw it after I walked around the sculpture and saw it from a different perspective. I thought it was very interesting that the artist added different depths to the piece; this was my favorite part. It made me realize there is more than one side to every story.
DESIGN OF THE MUSEUM: The architects and the curators have designed the space of the museum to enhance one’s enjoyment of the artwork through the lighting, the design of the rooms, and by arranging the exhibits thematically with separate wings for different regions of the globe. I found the Asian Art Wing to be particularly appealing because it is designed to have a lot of natural lighting, which I love. The use of space and arrangement of the art is also very aesthetically pleasing which added to my enjoyment of the wing. It has floor to ceiling windows that provide a view into an outside garden and which provide beautiful sunlight which make the sculptures and the art in the wing glow. The warm, welcoming sunlight made me feel comfortable and brought a smile to my face.
ART AND CORE VALUES: Art often appeals to our core values and allows us to work through our emotions, such as love, desire, loss, hate, fear, and sorrow. There was one piece of artwork that appealed to one of my core values: it was a family portrait with Frida Kahlo as a young girl. Any picture, painting, or sculpture I’d ever seen of Kahlo always depicted her alone, I had never seen her family. My number one core value, my priority, is my family; I think family truly is everything. Kahlo and her family are beautifully represented in this photograph. I chose this piece because it instilled in me more appreciation for the importance of family. I had never before seen a representation of Kahlo with her family, but this doesn’t mean they weren’t there with her, supporting her and motivating her. I cherish family, my family, wholeheartedly.
ART AND THE GOOD LIFE: Artists often use visual representations of the world to provoke us to think thoughtfully about the human condition. Just like stories, music, and performances, art can help us think about the Good Life. I came across a picture titled "First Communion in Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil" which I think conveys the good life theme. This image captures three young girls who often surrounded the photographer on his photography locations, even when in the work circumstances. Some children had been abandoned; others were separated from their parents as a result of the civil war. Many lived in refugee camps, others in detention centers for illegal immigrants. However, the photographer “was struck by their resilience and celebration of life in spite of these struggles.” They were able to look past their hardships and celebrate life. As long as we understand that there is a good life for each and every one of us, we are already living the good life. This artwork added to my appreciation and understanding of the good life theme because it opened my eyes to the fact that most people are not as privileged but still find reason to celebrate their life. Everyone has the right to live a good life.