I went to the Harn Art Museum on Sunday January 29th with my friend Sarah. We both had a strong desire to go (completely unrelated to the required assignment, naturally) and therefore decided, it would be more fun together. The museum was actually surprisingly entertaining for me. I've been to art museums before and enjoyed them, but with the exception of the MET, the typical art museums I have visited had a theme of one particular kind of art throughout the museum. While I do appreciate art, I enjoy seeing a plethora of styles and mediums and eras pf artwork, and seeing the same kind for an entire museum tour gets... repetitive at best. the Harn was actually really cool to explore because there were a few different kinds of artwork on display, from pop art styled to ceramics to African dance and masks, to the Asian sculpture art, which for the most part, were all pretty fun to see.
PhotoCred: Sarah Michaurd
Medium of the Art
This particular piece of art was the most striking that I found in the museum visually. It was a bunch of fruits, carved out of jade in China in the 18th century. Looking online at pictures of them isn't the same as seeing them in person in the museum itself however. This is because when you're there in person you can see just how detailed and intricate these fruits are, which is impressive enough. But then when you realize the time they were made it becomes almost infinitely more impressive considering the tools they would have had to use back then to cut out the shapes and details into these gems. Now, to be honest my first impression of this work was actually one of confusion because initially, the fruits all kind of looked like human organs. I thought that one looked like a heart, and one looked like a kidney, and I couldn't make anything of the one in the middle, which looked a little like the tentacles of the Kraken. However, once I read that they were fruits I could look a little closer and I realized that they were indeed, artistically rendered fruits. But I don't think if I had only seen the pictures online I would have seen anything except fruit considering the angles I'm sure they would have taken the pictures at. But making that comparison to the human organs, actually helped me kind of visualize their meaning, which was a lot more human that mere fruits, things such as wish for offspring, a long life, etc. So even if that isn't what the sculptor originally intended, it had that effect on me personally.
PhotoCred: Sarah Michaurd
Architectural Design of the Museum
I thought the design of the Harn was pretty cool honestly. Mainly this wing, dedicated to modern art. The space was extremely open, which was good for someone to get a quick overall glimpse of all the art before we focused on any one individual piece. The fact that the space was so large also had the effect of making me feel extremely small, which I believe is actually a feeling that opens people to a deeper appreciation of art and the world in general. Plus, if you look at the top of this picture, you can see some really cool looking blue lights along the ceiling. These blue lights mixed with the more reddish color of the museum itself added a subtle lighting contrast in this wing which was visually appealing on the artwork.
PhotoCred: Sarah Michaurd
So for most people, I can't imagine that a picture of wall street in New York City would evoke much emotion beyond "wow NY is so pretty!" However, my grandparents live in NY, and my father grew up there, so naturally every year or two, my family makes the flight to New York to spend some time with them, and its one of my favorite things to do because I love my grandparents and I love the city. The city itself reminds me of so many of my core values that this just seemed like the perfect artwork for this section. The first one of my values that this made me think about was of course, the importance of my family to me, because of the natural reminder of my grandparents. However, beyond that, the city represents so many other things that I value, such as freedom to do what you want and BE what you want; creativity, seen in the architecture of every building and every ad that surrounds you in the city, the diversity of the people of city, the sense of hard work that surrounds every permanent resident. Everything about that city I love and value, and that is why I chose "Untitled #11 (Wall Street)" by Catherine Opie for this. Her explanation of the picture is that of a visual representation of "the mercantile heart of America..." which I can understand, considering it is Wall Street. However, it represents more than that to me, and art is practically the textbook example of the phrase, "to each his own."
The Good Life
Here I am in front of the extravagant African celebration and festival masks. These made me think of the good life because, in my opinion, a huge part of the good life is celebrating, whatever you want, whenever you can. I think that in order to have a good life, you need feelings such as joy, accomplishment, and a community you love. All of these things are present and evident in these masks and their purpose. They are used in festivals celebrating, well, everything and anything. from a coronation to a religious festival to a community storytelling night. And to me, I think that is a good example of the good life. These masks are found in celebration to celebration to celebration throughout the entire continent of Africa, and if they don't symbolize some element (celebration) of the good life, I don't know what does. They bring the community together and emphasize important lessons as well as entertains the whole community. These two masks on the right in particular tell a story of a king walking amongst his people and becoming closer to their gods.