Good Life: Harn Museum Claire Seiler

During my experience at the Harn, I was exposed to a large variety of artwork. The following pieces are those that resonated most strongly with me, in adherence to the themes we were provided. Image above: Harn Asian Collection Main Room.

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist

The Ancestor Spirit Masquerade Costume stood out to me the most in terms of medium and technique, as well as cultural significance. The costume utilizes multiple layers of fabric and leather, cowrie shells and metal. These layers serve a symbolic purpose: they completely hide and transform the wearer, allowing him/her to truly embody the spirits of deceased family members who are honored through the Egungun ceremony. Seeing this piece in person allowed me to fully imagine the transformation "from human to spirit." To me, it conveyed a sense of honor and mystique.

Ancestor Spirit Masquerade Costume (Egungun) - 20th Century Nigeria

Design of the Museum

The Asian collection, hosted in a separate wing of the museum, had the most interesting and elaborate design. The wing made use of open space concepts, deliberate piece placement, and an enchanting garden (pictured below). The design of the wing, while heavily modernized, sought to reflect the culture of the pieces hosted within it. Journeying through the space allowed me to better connect with the collection and understand underlying themes within the works (e.g. balance, symmetry, minimalism). The picture on the Intro Page is also from this wing.

Outer Gardens

Art and Core Values

This abstract sculpture, titled Family, by Cuban sculptor Agustin Cardenas portrays two parent figures joined together with a child seated on their laps. Family is the core theme of the work, and the core value I chose to explore. The representation of the two parent figures and the child brings to mind my own relationship with my family. It invokes feelings of warmth and security.

Family - Agustin Cardenas

Art and the Good Life

In talking about the relationship between art and the good life, I chose to focus on the Guerrilla Girls exhibit as a whole, rather than any specific piece within it. Each piece builds upon its neighbor to form a cohesive unit representing a singular theme: equality. It depicts this theme by drawing attention to the inequalities experienced by women artists, such as less pay, less opportunity for their art to be displayed, and pidgeonholing by the art industry. It reminds me that we consistently have to identify and break down systematic barriers to help others achieve the good life.

Guerrilla Girls Exhibit
Created By
Claire Seiler

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