Good Life Activity at the Harn Museum Ipek Ceylan

In my tour of the Harn Museum, I encountered different exhibits full of work that was purchased, donated, and sometimes even gifted to our school. All of the exhibits were noticeably diverse in their origin and the ones that were made by immigrants were labeled as such. The labels made me realize how far an immigrant can come in America, despite the recent issues and travel bans. The culturally diverse exhibits were all very entertaining and I found my favorite to be the ones that reminded me of more modern artwork along with the displays that had Faust themed artwork since it is one of my favorite literary works!

The artwork that had the most striking medium for me was the colorful African clothing used at festivities that looked so much more textured and vibrant in person than I imagine it would in a picture. This was part of the Elusive Spirits: African Masquerades exhibit and it caught my attention most because of the bland corner it was standing in with all of its color and energy. I realize that these dresses and costumes are for a completely different purpose than their aesthetic quality alone. Masquerades are to transform people into what they believe to be are spirits, which goes along with the beliefs of the African people. They are used in many life events, including celebrations. This was the piece that I wanted to reach out and touch the most, as it looked as though it were made up of so many different things--objects that I imagine the people there would have access to.

The exhibit wing whose design I enjoyed most was the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing, due to the way it was organized and the shelves that carry the artwork being so high that one feels overwhelmed with all of the pieces presented to them. The lighting showed the pieces that were propped up carefully in shelves as though they were simple China plates but within them there was such history contained that not even the boxes carried descriptions. There were little booklets on the side with descriptions of the pieces that were each old and mesmerizing. My favorite among this wing's exhibits displayed on the shelves were the bowl that was from Iran in the Seljuk period. Consisting of glazed earthenware, this bowl from the Seljuk period reminded me of crafts from my heritage, which is right in the Middle East/Asia area as well. I enjoyed the amount of detail in the bowl and overall, the spacing was so great of this wing that it really reminded me of an Asian household. Everything was much more spaced out compared to the other wings.

The shelves were rather high and very well organized, the two blocks giving a sort of balance on the bottom corners and making the exhibit wing less heavy on the eyes. Information on the pieces was contained in the small pamphlets pictured on the right side of the shelf.
Here are the contents of the left shelf including brief descriptions of the mediums and countries of origin of the pieces featured. All highlighted in the pamphlets.
The bowl is pictured here, along with other Asian pieces that reminded me of my own Turkish cultural heritage.

The most personal piece of artwork I found at the Harn was the piece done by Angel Botello c. 1950 on oil on burlap called El Encuentro. This piece to me shows a gathering among people and they have their arms raised in praise or happiness but they all face each other. The abstract nature of the art makes it my favorite in the museum, reminding me of the pieced artwork modern artists enjoy making such as Romero Brito, an artist in Miami who uses a similar design but with more vibrant colors. This piece illicits joy in me, since I associate the company of good people to be happiness because I am always alone. It helps me cherish the few people I have had around for a very long time that I would like to gather around and celebrate with, such as my mum.

Here is a close-up image of my favorite painting in the section. It shows a gathering and what I interpret to be celebration among people.
My favorite piece and I: The Encounter.
Among my other favorites which feature abstract pieces in the Highlights From the Modern Collection exhibit. The simplicity and clean cuts as well as the varied bright and pastel colors are especially calming to me.

The Good Life theme depicted in the art that I found here is the theme of conflict and fighting for the Good Life. The piece I chose to show this was the artwork done by Eugene Delacroix in the Meant to be Shared pieces which featured various interpretations of Faust, one of my favorite works. Here the image presented is called Mephistopheles dans les airs (Mephistopheles in the Skies) and it is illustrated to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. Based on previous readings, I know that Mephistopheles is the Devil and has made an arrangement with God in order to test the faith that Faust has in the religion he believes but fails to directly identify with. This work shows his struggle, and shows the great things that Mephistopheles, almost descending from the heavens and appearing to be the character that will present all good earthly things to him. Faust struggles to attain the Good Life and has studied all things possible yet lacks carnal knowledge, so he seeks the help of the Devil and can even be seen becoming trapped in a hedonistic treadmill, as we discussed in previous lectures. The depth that this piece of art had, since I knew its story, is what stood out to me and allowed it to represent the Good Life for me.

Here, we see Mephistopheles ascending from the heavens in his bid to trick Faust into becoming so obsessed with himself and his carnal knowledge that he loses faith in the greater being he believes in.

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