Tour Of The Harn By jessica heller

Me next to an intriguing sculpture

Medium of the Art/Technique of the Artist: The above sculpture at the Harn museum really captured my attention because of the medium used as well as the themes behind it. It is called II-06-94 and it was created by Nancy Graves using bronze with patina and glass. The skill needed to make sculptures out of metal and glass is awe-inspiring, and I respect anyone who can manipulate these mediums to create three-dimensional forms of art. I also loved how Graves incorporated her many other interests from the scientific world and musical world - the realms of music, botany, paleontology, astronomy, and anatomy are all represented in one piece. This instantly made me connect to the artist and made me appreciate the many interesting aspects of the natural and cultural world.

Me in the botanical wonderland at the Harn Museum

Design of the Museum: My favorite wing of the museum in terms of how it was set up was the Asian Wing. The large, inviting, open space with shiny wooden floors beckons you to come inside and take your time exploring the large room. Your eyes also immediately take in the breathtaking sight of the garden right outside the wing. All together, the setting evokes positive feelings of tranquility right as you walk in. The stroll through the garden also made my whole experience, as I thought it was one of the most beautiful pieces of art at the museum.

Art and Core Values: The above artwork is entitled Mama Baby, Tidal Pools, Trinadad, California by Justine Kurland. Kurland was a feminist who sought to portray women and their children existing in harmony with nature. I connected to this picture on a deep level because it spoke to my core beliefs and ideals. I think proudly portraying motherhood and expressing the female body in its natural state, without sexual implications, is very important to do. I believe that society has distorted the image of the female body as being immoral or sexy, but breasts primarily have the function of feeding babies and the vagina is a symbol of fertility because it a reproductive organ. I believe reproduction is a beautiful thing and I don't think bodies should have to be shamed or hidden. I believe pieces like this show the purity of the female form without society to misinterpret it. I also love the concept of a tranquil connection in nature between mother and child, and the fact that the setting is in a tidal pool - teeming with life - is a beautiful juxtaposition.

Art and the Good Life: The collection of portraits of Frida Kahlo in the Harn Museum attested to the theme of Embodying the Good Life. Although I had heard of Kahlo and seen some of her artwork, I never truly understood the modern day hype surrounding her until I stepped into this portion of the museum. Kahlo had an incredible ability to demand the eye to her in the photographs and her face spoke volumes of confidence and self-assurance to me. I felt comfort as I walked around the room and gazed into the eyes of a woman who was sure of herself and owned her outward appearance as much as the multitudes inside of her. This allowed me to better understand the "Embodying the Good Life" theme - the importance of becoming confident in one's body to achieve the Good Life. I suddenly felt the need to cherish who I am, despite all my oddities, after leaving this exhibit.

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