Good Life Tour of the Harn Museum of Art By Dieu Tran

Would you believe me if I told you that visiting the Harn Museum of Art was as eye-opening as visiting the Louvre in Paris? Would you believe me if I told you that the art in the Harn was as breath-taking as the pieces I have viewed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? To me, it does not matter how big the museum is or how famous the works of art are. All that matters is that you can connect to the stories and values that each piece of artwork held.

MEDIUM OF ART AND TECHNIQUE OF THE ARTIST

Ode a l'Oubli by Louise Bouregois

Out of all the works I have viewed in the museum, this piece of art appealed to me the most. In this piece, the artist uses fabric and cloth that she collected through her childhood to describe the traumatic and life-changing experiences she went through. She immigrated from France in1938. Using eccentric colors and psychedelic patterns, she is able to convey the confusion and terror. She arranges the pieces of cloth in a timeline. The top represents her past while the bottom represents the future she yearns for. She longs for reconciliation and restoration with her troubled past. If a person were to view this piece of art online or in a photo, he/she would not be able to observe the details in each piece of cloth. Noticing small details such as the stitching pattern can bring a more chilling and striking perspective to the piece. For me, looking at the details, the colors, the patterns, and the story as a whole was very emotional for me. It reminded me of the confusion and hardship my family went through when they immigrated to America.

DESIGN OF THE MUSEUM

Asian Collection | Asian Water Garden

One of the things I truly appreciate about the Harn Museum of Art is the amount of detail they place on the layout of the museum. One of the exhibits that I enjoyed in particular was the Asian Exhibit. The curators and architects focused heavily on lighting and the use of space. To truly capture the beauty and atmosphere of Asian art, they placed the Asian exhibit next to wide window panels. The use of windows allows natural light to shine into the exhibit. Choosing natural light over artificial light was a wise choice because in Asian cultures, they pride natural beauty over artificial beauty. Along with the use of windows, it creates the illusion of space. Providing an atmosphere that feels free allows the viewer to have a calm, peaceful, and open mind when looking at pieces of art. Beyond the windows was a beautiful garden that encompassed plants seen in Asia and a mini waterfall. The addition of a water garden allowed museum goers to experience the cultural environment firsthand. I enjoyed this exhibit the most because the architects and curators created a truthfully cultural atmosphere.

ART AND CORE VALUES

Sailboats near Houses, Nantucket by Hayley Lever | Beach Scene by Charles Herbert Woodbury

My family immigrated from Vietnam back in the 1980s. When I looked at these pieces, I did not see boats washing up on shore. I saw immigrants traveling to America by boat. In Lever's piece, I felt as if I was looking at these boats in a harbor from the perspective of an immigrant. I felt the anxiousness and hope that one would feel if they were trying to immigrate to another country for safety and security. In Woodbury's piece, it reminded me of the immigrants that arrived from the Caribbean by boat. The paint strokes and the choice of color made me feel the fear one would have when arriving to a place they have only dreamed about. These paintings allowed me to explore my values, specifically in the aspects of security, safety, and personal growth. It allowed me to understand what it means to give up safety in the short-term. When you give up the safety of what you are familiar with, you gain personal growth and security in the long-term.

ART AND THE GOOD LIFE

Casita al mar by Emilio Sanchez

In this lithograph, Sanchez conveys the theme of seeking the good life. Sanchez immigrated from Cuba to America. Upon viewing this photo, one can see a house depicted in America. Houses such as these were referred to as the good life for people like Sanchez. It was the epitome of the American Dream. This artwork showcases a long and open hallway in the center of the house. The sky is dark compared to the bright red color of the house. Assuming the colors are symbolic, the dark blue represents the terror and fear of the unknown while the bright red represents the American Dream. The long hallway represents the long journey it will take to achieve this dream. This demonstrates the theme of seeking the good life because the artist analyzes the cost and extent of achieving the good life. This painting adds to my understanding of the good life because it allows me to see the lengths one will go to (such as sacrificing comfort for fear) to achieve one's dreams.

Created By
Dieu Tran
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