Good Life Tour of the Harn Cameron Kocan


Figure 1.1
Figure 1.2

These two photos located in nearby exhibits at the Harn really capture the different aspects of the 'good life' as the work with the tall sky scrapers and bright lights seem to represent the distractions that both Siddhartha and Thoreau encountered. What could be more distracting than the city that never sleeps? For anyone that has not been to New York, it is sardine-packed to say the least followed by monstrous noises making it almost impossible to stay focused! This represents the everyday distractions that inhibit our progress towards achieving the good life goal. These distractions allow for the sufferings that Siddhartha acknowledged. Although the second image is relatively plain compared to the first, it holds an even greater meaning to the good life as it emphasizes the importance of family and social relations. Siddhartha would add that you must let your child make their own choices. It also captures two characteristics seen in both characters we have discussed- determination and patience.

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist:

Figure 2.1

What stood out to me about this rug was a combination of the simple but eye-catching design on the rug with it's location at the Harn, this wall. Given that rugs traditionally belong on the floor, the fact that this one is hung defeats its functional purpose allowing for us to greater appreciate the work as art. As we have seen in IUF1000, we as humans tend to ignore or undermine background items such as nature or other common items that we have become accustomed to seeing. For this reason, the placement of the rug allowed for a greater appreciation of an item so often overlooked. Specifically, this rug is hung vertical which resembles sort of an hour glass which would not have been as apparent if it had been hung horizontal. This hour glass-like structure may have been a reference to time, reminding us to take our time and look around because we often go through life ignoring such items as a rug. It shocked me how using simple shapes even dots can communicate an even more complex message. After seeing this work, I feel as if I should be more careful when looking at something for the first time and really look for a deeper meaning.

Design of the Museum:

Figure 3.1

I found the Harns' use of outdoor space, specifically the gardens, to be very intriguing as it offers a basis for naturalness which contrasts with the quite abstract art found in earlier exhibits such as the Central America artwork. While the other work can be filled with messages and distractions, the gardens allow your mind a break and to really go into deeper thinking about what you have seen so far. The mood that the pond and outdoors give off is tranquility and calmness. What could it mean to put nature in a museum? The purpose of this area in the museum serves as a contrast while encouraging you to bring what you have seen into the real world and to restate how beauty and art can be found in everyday life as they are often overlooked.

Art and Core Values:

The complexity of the museum's set up was overcome with calmness when I came across the Budha in the center of the room, equal distant from each side creating a sense of balance. Buddha represents complete enlightenment. His calming hands depict the silence in the room and ensure you a positive mood. This work reminded me of Siddhartha by the of the novel as both possess a balance of life. It gives me a reminder to stay humble and a cultural perspective as Buddhism is part of the Indian culture.

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Cameron Kocan

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