Tour of the Harn "You know what they say, no harn, no foul." A presentation by Josiah Badiali

Medium of the Art & Attention to Technique

Prior to my exhibition at the art museum, I had as much knowledge for the endeavors of the modern (and not-so-modern) artist as I do for nomenclature, (to elaborate, I didn't know what that was until I looked it up to make sure it wasn't something horrible). I found the experience to be enlightening, not from an intellectual standpoint since I know how painting works, but rather from a more humane standpoint. It wasn't the brilliance of the artwork which got to me, but rather the imperfections within it. Being able to go up to the painting, "Bicycles" (by Purser) and seeing the strokes, the tiny mistakes lining each flick of the brush, and thinking of how someone did this. Any machine can print out a picture with pinpoint precision and no mistakes, but a person can do it...worse. But it's the fact that it's worse, the fact that this is a person who can screw up everything in an instant that makes it more intriguing. Basically it's the 'David vs Goliath' effect, where I seem to appreciate the human painter for doing something so well while being at a complete disadvantage to the modern machine.

"Bicycles" - Stuart Robert Purser

The Design of the Museum

Reflecting on my tour of the Harn, nothing really jumps out to me in terms of floor layout other than the Cofrin Asian Art section. This section had many sculptures coupled with dark wooden floors and the large open windows added a natural sense to the viewing, possibly as intended by the designer. Asian art, especially that of Japanese origin, is highly intertwined with nature. The practice of "Wabi-Sabi" is the embrace of imperfections within the natural world, and giving beauty to asymmetrical design and layouts. Even the placement of the sculpture stands were placed in a very asymmetric yet pleasing manner, but I'm not sure if it's Wabi-Sabi since that's Japanese and the wing is simply labeled "Asian". The lighting was also darker and more comfortable, whereas all of the blank, white rooms with paintings on the wall were quite bright. わあ、みって、ジョサイアは日本語を話します。

Cofrin Asian Art Exhibit

Art and Core Values

To be quite honest, as I was going through the museum, I didn't really feel any sort of spark from most of the works, except for the most boring one in there: "Overlook mountain, Woodstock, New York". When I first glanced at this painting, I was overcome with emotion, I couldn't think of anything by one, vivid, excruciating thought chiming repetitively in my mind to to point of driving me into insanity..."trees". On a more serious note, the reason why the painting resonated with me is due to the simple concept of nature. Often times, when cranking through calculus homework or physics worksheets in Library East, I begin to feel a pressure from the amount of thinking put into every problem, and I take a break and look out of the window, and peer at the maple (I think) trees and people walking to class, and I feel a familiar sense. A short story: one time I got in trouble in the third grade, now I know this seems pretty usual for someone such as myself, but bear with me. This particular occasion I got in trouble for thinking into my future too much. The teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up, and there was the slew of responses expected from eight year-olds: "Pokemon trainer", "Doctor", "Astronaut", were prime examples of this. Despite the optimism in the room, I said "construction worker", which was met with skepticism by the teacher (of all the answers). I was asked why, and I told her that if I were to pursue being a construction worker, I wouldn't have to worry about higher education or solving huge issues within society, I could simply live life devoid of responsibility, make enough money to get by, and go home. Back to the painting, I was reminded of how existential life is, that all of my work, all of my ideas, will have little impact on the world, since despite whats going on within my mind, no matter how chaotic, the world, like the trees, remains calm. How everyone in the world has the idea of their life being special, but looking in the grand scheme of things, they're just one of the billions, whose existence has little impact on reality.

"Overlook Mountain, Woodstock, New York" - Ernest Fiene

Art and the Good Life

As much as I would love to speak more about the existentialism of life as inspired by the 'trees' painting, there is another painting which somewhat adheres to the theme established above. "Manhattan" (by German) is the embodiment of the struggle between serenity and complexity. How does this relate to the Good Life? Well, the "Good Life", in my opinion, is the mastery of the chaotic and serene. Complications and chaos stem from the imperfections and 'wrongs' of life; occurrences which you weren't prepared for, as well as traumas which cannot be controlled. Is the mastery of the chaotic life - the preparation for everything, the coping of all traumas, followed by the subsequent life of leisure - is this the Good Life? Is life without stress honestly better than one with it? As I type this, I think I've figured out the answer. The answer is neither is better than the other, for having a life of leisure is boring, and uneventful, while a life full of stress is exhausting, and filled with fantasy of the other life. The grass is always greener on the other side, yet the answer is simple yet difficult, own both houses. Live a life which has appropriate proportions of chaos and leisure; most of youth is spent thinking about the future, while the majority of your aged life is spent thinking of the past. The "Good Life" may be achieved through the abandonment of each pursuit, and the acceptance and embrace of stress, along with the following relief of relaxation. The painting of Manhattan can be seen as a quiet skyline, or the center of a bustling city. It is through the view of the picture from each perspective where one can gain insight to the reality of the city, and may even be able to apply it to their own life.

Manhattan - George Grosz

Since there wasn't anyone around to take pictures of my back with the paintings in the background, I was faced with two choices: take it featuring my face, or take the 5 point deduction. I went with the lesser of two evils.

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