Harn Museum What is the good life common activity

Medium of the Art

A work of art that I found particularly striking because of its medium was the Winiama Masks from the Village of Ouri, Burkina Faso, by Christopher Roy and Abdoulaye Bamogo. Many museums, the Harn included, have large collections of ceremonial masks from different tribes, societies, etc. While these elaborate masks are impressive just to look at, be it online or in person, their standstill position does not allow for a person to truly appreciate their purpose. These masks were not made just to be looked at, but to be used. This is why I think the use of a video medium in this work of art is so effective. To be able to see the masks as they were meant to be used, worn in a ceremony with music and dancing, let me truly appreciate the importance and value of of the mask to the people who made them.

Design of the Museum

One of the exhibits of the museum that I found extremely appealing was the rock garden created by Kurisu International Inc. in the Asian Art Wing. The rock garden was mostly designed in the traditional Japanese style, with gravel bits raked in flowing patterns around large rocks and trees. While sitting on one of the benches outside, I felt as though I could just as easily be sitting in a zen garden in Japan, and not Gainesville. However, artfully mixed in with the traditional garden was gravel made of Florida limestone, a path for museum goers to walk through, and glass walls showing the campus landscape beyond. This well planned design allowed for me to appreciate the importance of other cultures, while not forgetting my own, which I believe is very important to the path to the Good Life.

Art and Core Values

One of the values that I find to be very important is perseverance, a value I felt was shown in Frida Painting The Wounded Table by Bernard Silberstein. This print showing Frida Kahlo painting one of her many works lets us see not just Frida's own work, but Frida Kahlo herself. Just looking at the works Frida Kahlo made is impressive in itself, but seeing her sitting there with them lets viewers connect with her far more easily. Frida Kahlo had many hardships throughout her life, and she persevered by painting her thoughts onto the canvas as a means of dealing. Therefore, seeing her next to her own painted thoughts creates a very powerful image of Frida's strength, and provides an inspiring message for those who are struggling.

Art and the Good Life

One of the works that I felt conveyed an important ideal in the Good Life was the print Do Women Have to be Naked to get in the Met by the Guerrilla Girls. This very striking poster, combines a version of the classically painted nude, La Grande Odalisque, with a gorilla head, as well as powerful statistics showing the lack of equality in the art world. Looking at this work, while standing in the very museums they are criticizing, causes viewers to really consider the validity of their statements. A person merely has to walk through the museum to see the truth in their allegation. I thought this was extremely applicable to the Good life, because it shows women who acknowledge societal issues, and attempt to address the problem in hopes of improving things.

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