Creating The Good Life A Tour of the Harn

Tiangis Aerial Reflect (2003): Melanie Smith

Technique of the Artist

While walking through the Harn, Melanie Smith's work captured my eye. From afar, it looked like an abstract painting but upon closer inspection I discovered that it was a photograph. By piecing together several photographs from different angles, Smith creates a contrast of color and design seen in the city. By looking at the picture from a distance, you are not able to visualize the methods Smith used to create a striking mirrored image of the city. To me, this work showed how there is art in everyday life, as the buildings of the city work together to create an aesthetically pleasing image. Smith's technique allowed me to see that there is beauty in everything if we wish to seek it.

The entrance to the Photography Collection

Design of the Museum

As you walk past the lobby into the museum, you are greeted by the stare of a familiar face watching you through a gray gateway: Frida Kahlo. The tantalizing photograph of Frida is precariously placed in the archway in order to draw patrons into the photography collection. This design catches the eyes of those who walk by, as Frida's colorful photo provides a stark contrast to the comparatively dull surroundings, thus further inviting museum guests to explore the exhibit. The design also makes use of lighting, as light focused on Frida further emphasizes the colorful photograph and highlights the appealing factors of it. The design of the entrance of the photography collection immediately sets a dramatic tone for the entire exhibit, further mirrored by the photos of Frida on display.

(Top) Anatomically Correct Oscar Billboard, (Bottom) Unchain the Women Directors Billboard

Art and Core Values

Art is an outlet through which an artist expresses their innermost beliefs. For many, this includes displays of dissatisfaction with current political and societal concepts, such as the role of a woman. For me, feminism is a core value and I believe strongly in fighting for the equality of women in all aspects. For this reason, the exhibit highlighting the Guerilla Girls spoke to me, as I shared the same beliefs as the message their works were giving off. Often times, these works provoked anger and frustration within me, as the fight for women is long and arduous and these works displayed the ludicrous nature of the suppression of women in the art industry. These works highlighted how many women face different standards from men and how women are often underrepresented in the art and entertainment industries. For me, these core values mirrored those of my own and allowed me to fully enjoy the works and the meanings they attempted to convey.

Tiergarten, Berlin, July 1 (2000): Rineke Dijkstra

Art and the Good Life

In Dijkstra's photograph, a young girl is pictured during a transitional stage in her life. She was told to "act natural," yet she looks uncomfortable doing so. In her Tiergarten series, Dijkstra focuses on the struggle to find an identity and the struggle to be accepted in society. To me, this largely reflects themes of what the good life is. For many of us, we believe that social acceptance is the key to being happy and having a good life. However, many of us struggle to maintain a balance between acceptance and individuality, and we often lose ourselves in the process of becoming socially acceptable. This work spoke to me personally as I, like many others, have had periods of uncertainty concerning my own identity and concerning how I felt I fit into societal norms. Especially in adolescence, we are vulnerable in terms of our own thoughts towards ourselves and insecure about not being able to achieve a good life. This work gives a visual to an insecurity felt by a majority of people and highlights the pressure to create the perfect identity for yourself.

Created By
Jasmyn Irani

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