Good Life Tour of the Harn By Jacob Bauman

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist: Art, the various branches of creative activity, has a differing affect on every human being. Some people have a great appreciation for art while others do not. I am a major proponent of auditory art such as music; however, I have visited numerous famous museums across the world. For example, I have been to the Louvre in Florence, Italy. At this museum I had the experience of viewing one of the world's most beloved paintings, the Mona Lisa. This experience taught me that art doesn't appear to be the same when viewing it in a museum versus observing it online or in a book. I got a complete different interpretation of the painting in person. The painting was much smaller than I imagined and was surrounded by hundreds of people. Mona Lisa's eyes, the mysterious woman painted, are always following you.

It is extremely necessary to view artwork in a museum such as the Harn in order to really comprehend what the artists is trying to display to the observer. One piece of art I came across at the Harn was a sculpture named "Islandia, Goddess of the Healing Waters." This sculpture was created by Audrey Flack and it quickly caught my eye. When viewing this sculpture online you don't get to appreciate the vibrant colors and powerful message Flack is trying to portray.Seeing this sculpture in person gave me a sense of what Flack was trying to portray. This sculpture depicting a female goddess represents ideals of Democracy and equal rights. It shows that women are powerful and should be considered equal to mean in the United States. The technique of the artist made me feel empowered since this large powerful female was towering over me. I believe that Flack's technique was to make the males/men viewing this painting to feel weaker and smaller to show that women were equal. My visit to the Harn allowed me to appreciate viewing art in person and the culture of walking through a museum.

Design of the Museum: The university and museum's goal is to educate and enrich the lives of the students. The museum is filled with over 10,000 various pieces of art that pertains to all/diverse audiences. The Harn contains an Asian Collection, African Collection, Modern Collection, Contemporary Collection and Photography Collection. These collections depict human and cultural history that is vital to our society and grants its viewers with a sense of belonging. The lighting of the museum gave me different tones and intrpeprations of the art work. When first entering the museum it was brighter, which made me feel welcomed and excited to see the different exhibitions. The light was more dim when observing certain paintings. This was because the artist wanted the observer to focus on the paintings vibrant colors rather than the lighting.

Besides the lighting, the size of the room also gives the viewer a different appreciation of the exhibitions. For example, larger rooms may create a more intimidating environment for the observer because usually the works being displayed are larger and there is more to see; whereas, smaller rooms makes the observer feel more constricted/confined towards what is in the room. It's also more cramped. One exhibit that was extremely appealing to me was the Harn's garden. This is because it contrasted the focus on paintings, photos and sculptures with natural beauty. Also it is nice to be in a scenic outdoor environment. At certain times during my self-guided tour i would get bored of being inside and looking at similar pieces of art. Going outside gave the observer a completely new environment to appreciate art. For example, the I love witnessing waterfalls, gardens and small ponds. This allows for a more enjoyable lay out of the museum for the viewer. This exhibit made me feel content because natural sunlight always puts a smile on my face.

Art and the Good Life: Every human being has a different meaning/interpretation of artwork. Some people greatly appreciate art, while others do not. Art is extremely personal, which allows many of its observers to feel various emotions. This is important because each piece of art has a different message and meaning for the viewer to attain. For example a piece of art can make a person feel infinite emotions such as anger, love, hate, fear, sorrow, empathy, etc. Also, different expositions speak to me in various ways. I feel that paintings are more symbolic and meaningful than a statue. This is because paintings display an untold story. A particular painting in the Harn immediately grabbed my attention. Herman Herzog's painting "Forest with Heron" allowed me to feel apart of the natural world. This painting displayed the exotic and untouched terrain of a Florida forest environment. The fact that it was "untouched" shows the beauty of the natural world and the living organisms that live within it. I am a big proponent of the preservation of nature. As a supporter, I believe that it's a disgrace that people exploit our natural resources for technological advances and to keep up with our constantly changing society.

Art and the Good Life: Art can be both visual and auditory. Both forms of art grant different experiences to an observer. This is essential for experiencing the good life. Walking through the Harn gave me a completely varying experience from the play i saw early in the semester. It was a completely different environment to appreciate art. Visual art displays a wordless story that an observer has to interpret in order to understand its meaning. This is challenging because every person has their own interpretations on the same piece of art. Artists portray divergent messages to communicate their message to society, whether it is to show their emotions on an event or instill change. The "Seated Bodhisattva" was the artwork that related to many of the good life themes. This piece of art made me think about Walden's life of simplicity/nature and Siddhartha's path towards enlightenment. This meaningful statue is giving up his own goal of attaining enlightenment in order to help others. The fact that this Buddhist art is smiling as well as The position of the savior demonstrates that he is comfortable with his role in life. This statue also exemplifies that it is more important to live a simplistic life rather than conforming to society's teachings. The constant emphasis on nature and simplicity allows me to appreciate the important things in life rather then focusing on desires. Also, the only way you can reach your own form of enlightenment is through your own experiences. You need to liberate yourself from societies teachings and values. Having you own identity allows an individual to live the good life.

Source: "UF Named Facilities." Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art - UF Named Facilities - University of Florida Foundation, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

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