City Blocks by Bertram Hartman is a piece that depends on the angle of the viewer. The audience looks a city scape from over looming balcony. From the way the artist painted it, the view is slanted to make it look three dimensional as though the balcony was actually overlooking the city. Having spent most winters and some summers in New York City, I really connected to this piece and its landscape. I found the perfect spot to stand to actually feel like I was viewing a city, which is why I thought it was worthy of including. The way the painter made a two dimensional object so dynamic was fundamental to enjoying the piece.
Betram Hartman. City Blocks c. 1929. Oil on Canvas. Harn.
Design of the Museum:
The Irving Goffman Garden is one that truly uses the museum to its advantage when it comes to its display. The garden was designed by a former UF student, and actually uses the stoneware piece by David Greenbaum that inspired it. In a way, the artist created a living frame for the stoneware so that it could be seen in an appropriate environment. The room that this is viewed from opens itself to the artwork through windows, which allows that section of the museum to feel airy. I particularly liked this garden because this museum had very dark lighting, and that tends to make me feel depressed and tired. Having this unexpected corner of sunlight and nature was very welcome because it was like nature was invading the dark and orderly rooms of the museum. I really enjoyed the display because it was fun to see the walls melt away to a different type of display in the middle of more traditional art.
Aaron Lee Wiener. Irving J. Goffman Garden. Harn.
Stoneware: David Greenbaum (Untitled). 1996. Stoneware. Harn.
Art and Core Values
I Am Not A Persian Carpet #2 is an incredibly important work of art to me and I was struck by it when I saw it. My mother is a middle eastern immigrant and I have visited Lebanon three times, the last cut short in 2006 due to the Israel-Hezbollah war. Issues in the middle east hit very close to home, and the amount of oppression women face is soul crushing in comparison to what women in America face. To me, equal rights for women of all races and ethnicities is one of my most core values. This Iranian artist expresses her views through her body, something that would not be considered her own from where she came from. She is fighting against the oppression and objectification that men legally can impose on females by stating that she is not an exotic good that is up for anyone to buy. This piece is a small rebellion against oppressive and objectifying society, and until this piece can be displayed without anger and opposition in her home country of Iran I believe it is a bold and empowering statement in the movement for equality.
Aphrodite Desiree Navab. I am Not a Persian Carpet #2. 2001. Gelatin silver print.
Art and the Good Life
The Mende society created masks like the ones below to display gender roles and societal positions. They are used in performance based rituals and reflect on attributes that are considered to be ideal. The Sande masks are believed to have spiritual powers that are shown during performances. The Sande masks take on the ideal female face, and the Poro masks (male) display status and specific functions. The societies that made them help them to perform the rituals they care about though specific and tangible icons. In this way, the people can embody the good life and take on the roles that are important to them. Since there are not too many examples of this in western society, it was interesting to see how cultures different from our own embody the good life.
Mende people, Sande Society Masks. 20th Century. Wood. Harn. Vai People. Helmet Masks. 20th Century. Wood. Harn.