A Look into the Harn BY: GIANNA DRAYER

John Chamberlain's Untitled piece in the Contemporary Art exhibit.

Medium of the Art/ Technique of the Artist

I have been to the Harn a time or two before, and I have always enjoyed my visits. However, this particular visit was particularly enjoyable because of the new contemporary art exhibit. I walked into the front door of the exhibit and was in immediate awe that my favorite period of art was portrayed right before me. This piece of art by John Chamberlain caught my eye because of the unique medium. This piece of art is a three-demensional ball of aluminum that looked like it came from some industrial machines or cars. It was spray-painted with various colors in random places. If this was seen in a book or on a website, the viewer would not be able to take in the harshness and uniqueness of the aluminum material. It has the essence of the industrial age trapped in the technique and if it was not seen in person, it would be very hard to make that connection. I found this so striking because I have never seen a work of art made of crushed aluminum. It wasn't art in the traditional sense of painting, or carefully crafted sculpture, but it took on its own form. When I saw this piece of art, I immediately thought of the technology industry and the excess waste that could build up in the modern world. I think it was a tribute to all of the aluminum machines and gadgets in its rawest form. It portrayed a marking point for all of the advances we have made in technology. This art made me feel slightly disturbed, as the harshness of the material felt as though it did not have a place in the museum, but I was also amazed to see something so unique.

Design of the Museum

A garden in the Harn with chairs.

I have always been fascinated with this part of the museum because I have never seen a single piece of art incorporated so closely with nature like this sculpture. This scene was planned and manipulated on purpose, and it is truly amazing how the specific landscape aspects really accentuate the piece itself. The set up of this piece adds a sense of calm to the piece and makes me feel as thought the piece itself is one with nature. The bright lighting contrasts with the bronze/green patina material of the sculpture, but it doesn't stand out as it connects with the dark green plants in the setting. The garden has a foreground, middle ground, and background and is essentially a piece of art in itself. The space is small and is not meant for many people to go into. It makes the placement intimate and alludes that only the sculpture is supposed to be there. The chairs outside of the garden also prove that this place is meant for relaxation and calmness. It reminds me of one of the earliest pieces of Art known to man, Venus of Willendorf. I feel as thought the artist is calling up the primitive basic side of human nature to portray this sculpture. This piece of art makes me feel calm and relaxed. The smooth sculpture along with the plants really help me feel no anxiety or stress.

Frida Kahlo

Art and Core Values

Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists of all time. She is iconic as she is proud of her Mexican culture and is a pioneer in the female artist movement. She never denies her heritage and is always working to show her point of view despite the shadow of her husband Diego Rivera. I have included two photographs of her. The first one is a photograph pf her laying in a hospital bed painting. She was very sick for the majority of her life, but she never let her illness get in the way of doing what she loved. One of my core values is perseverance, and I think that Frida Kahlo is a great example of this. She constantly kept trying despite the many roadblocks she endured. The second photo is her dressed in traditional Mexican dress adorned with flowers. Another one of my core values is heritage, I have a lot of family in Italy and I am so proud to be Italian. Frida is a role model to me that she upheld her culture's values all of her life. She makes me feel motivated to be a leader and to never let anyone else dictate my own life. These photos make me feel joy and make me feel empowered. They help me better understand what I believe and cheers by giving me an example to live by. I can see photographs of Frida Kahlo's life and use those to help me feel empowered as a woman to stand up for what I believe and stick to what I value. In today's world, society seems to loom over millennials shoulders urging them to stick to the status quo, but like Frida I hope to not travel on the beaten path.

Old Man's Cloth by EL Anatsui

Art and the Good Life

In high school, I learned about this piece of art in my AP Art History class and it was really cool to see this art in its home. Old Man's Cloth is a very empowering piece to me because it incorporates African history and is a very dynamic piece. It is made of flattened bottle caps of liquor bottles first introduced by the colonists. This art piece brings to mind the injustices and harm the colonial people brought to Africa, and calls upon the major patterns of consumption and waste. This was made by the Asante and Ewe people of Ghana and Togo showing that things still can be as they were. This cloth has the theme of transcendence. These African peoples looked past the damage of the colonists and looked past all of the waste produced and still produced a unique cloth connected to their heritage. They even used the waste left behind (the bottle caps) to make the piece, using their damages to their benefits. The work uses the old liquor bottle caps from the colonists to make the art, driving home the meaning behind this piece. They didn't let others affect their aspiration of the good life, and although their good life is not what we usually think of as the good life, it can still be learned from. This truly makes me appreciate the heritage of the African people and their perseverance to use the best of what they were given. It also makes me think upon the problem of consumption and waste in our society and how is affecting people of other countries and our environment.

All of these photos were taken by Gianna Drayer

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