Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum By: Justin Horbacz

Medium of the Art: There is an enormous difference between seeing a piece of art in person rather than over the screen of a computer. This doesn’t just apply for art though; it applies for historical landmarks, remains from past cultures, or just something as simple as a sunset. When someone sees an image of one of these things, they aren’t able to fully appreciate its magnitude and beauty. You aren’t truly able to fully appreciate something until you see it in person with your own two eyes. It’s hard to put into words, but there’s a certain aspect about art that you can’t experience unless you are physically with it. One piece of art I truly felt this with was in the Korean Art section. There was a golden Buddha (figure attached below) in this room. Looking back at the picture, you wouldn’t think much of it. But when you are there in the moment and you realize the history around this piece and how long it’s been around, it’s truly an amazing thing. I don’t think the artist really did anything to intrigue me in this work of art. In fact the reason it stood out to me was because it was the brightest thing in the room. But I am glad that it attracted me because once I began studying it, I began appreciating it. I started to think how amazing this world is. It made me realize how small I actually am. I was looking at an artifact that was older than my religion, and that truly blew me away. This work of art helped me appreciate life in a new way and really gave me a new perspective to view things through.

Golden Buddah

Design of the Museum: To be completely honest, much of the design of the museum was a bit confusing at first. One part of the museum that I did thoroughly enjoy though was the Asian Art Wing. Much of the museum I did enjoy, but many parts of it were dark and in turn, also felt a little depressing. In these exhibits, there were still amazing objects on display, but it just felt like something was missing. Once I walked into the Asian Art Wing though, everything changed. I turned the corner to enter this wing and as soon as I entered, bright light hit me. By having a wood décor, high ceilings, and plenty of windows to let sunlight in, everything seemed more alive and pleasant. The closest thing I could compare this to is when I was going on college visits junior year of high school. Regardless of how good a school was, I always had a subconscious bias where I liked the schools that had nicer weather the day I visited. The reason I bring this up is because environment is such a huge part of the experience. When looking at art in a dark, small room, it’s still amazing artifacts that you’re looking at. When these same artifacts are presented in a room like the Asian Art Wing however, a sense of happiness falls on you and it automatically makes your experience more enjoyable. I try not to not let my environment effect my experience of life but it’s hard to make that work. The reason people find March the most depressing month of the year is because it’s cold and dark all the time. On the contrary, people love the summer time because it’s sunny, warm, and you just feel free. The environment works the same way on its effect of art.

The Asian Art Wing

Art and Core Value: Sometimes, there is that one piece of art where when you study it, it speaks to you and your core values. One time I felt this at the Harn museum was when I was studying a figure in the middle of the room, dressed up in very colorful garments. As I was studying this piece, it wasn’t really the piece that spoke to me. This figure was one of the last things I saw in my time at the museum and throughout my time at the museum, each figure, artifact, or painting I saw got me thinking more and more. This last figure I saw exemplified what I was thinking to myself. A lot of the time, people are embarrassed or ashamed of their imperfections or blemishes. One thing I have always firmly believed in is that everyone should be proud of their uniqueness, not ashamed of this. In the beginning of time, we all came from the same ancestors. It’s amazing to walk through a museum and see all of the different things different cultures have done over time. Every culture has their own system of beliefs, their own rituals, their own clothing, their own set of rules, and many other things. These have obviously all evolved over time but it’s amazing to look at all the differences in these cultures because it truly tells a story. It tells the story about the uniqueness of every person and it shows why being unique is important. Not being afraid to be yourself is something I am a strong advocator of and that is exactly what I saw in this piece of art. Some see a man in colorful clothes; I see the celebration of the uniqueness of each and every one of us on this planet.

Me posing with an African Masquerades

Art and the Good Life: There isn’t a specific piece of art work that I want to discuss in this section. There wasn’t ONE piece of art that made me think about the good life. I didn’t think about the good life until I took my last picture which was taken by a tree outside of the museum. While in the process of getting my picture taken, I started to reflect about my entire experience at the museum. Not only did I reflect about the museum but I just began to think about the day as a whole and in a sense, life as a whole. At that moment in time, life was good. I had just seen some amazing pieces of artwork that made me think to myself, it was a beautiful day out, I got to spend the entire day with my roommate and friend, and on top of all of this, I got to go home the week after. Like I said earlier the quality of an experience is highly dependent on the environment surrounding you. Part of the reason I enjoyed my trip so much was due to the environment being at extremely ideal conditions. If the day was rainy, cold, and gloomy, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. Then I thought a little more and I came to a deeper realization about the good life. In life, you won’t be able to always be at a constant state of happiness; it just simply isn’t plausible. The one thing we can do though to ensure that we are always as close to happiness as possible is surround ourselves with positivity. If you surround yourself with friends, family, and things that generally make you happy, you will enjoy life more. Life is just like the museum visit and just like my college visits; regardless of how the main attraction was, environment truly swayed how I felt about it. If you ensure that throughout life, you surround yourself with a positive environment, you’ll be that much closer to the good life.

Me infront of the Harn
Created By
Justin Horbacz
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