Good Life Tour of the Harn Molly Williams


The Harn museum allowed me to learn more about myself and how I could connect to art. Before visiting the museum I did not think that the art would have much of an impact on my life. Upon visiting the Harn I realized that art can be applied to my personal experiences and visiting can provide time for self-reflection.

Medium of the Art: John Chamberlain 1927-2011; Untitled

Chamberlain's sculpture was one of the first pieces I saw upon entering the museum and I was immediately drawn to it. While examining the sculpture at first I could not figure out it was made of as I thought it looked similar to aluminum foil. I could not imagine how something made of material used to wrap leftover food could be art. After reading the description I learned that it was made of a type of industrial aluminium foil coated with auto lacquer. If I had not seen Chamberlain's sculpture in person and up close I would not have been able to see the detailed ridges the folds of the aluminum foil made. With only looking at a picture of the sculpture, I might not have realized what the sculpture was made out of when examining it. The ridges that are made from the compression of the aluminum are what drew me to the sculpture, I wanted to figure out what the material was that was able to fold like that. I was shocked that art being displayed in a museum could be made out of aluminum foil, which is not something I would ordinarily consider an art supply. The sculpture made me realize that there is no set definition of art, it can be anything that was made by someone to either express themselves or just make it for the sake of making art. After seeing this piece it made all the other artwork feel more approachable in the museum, it became a much less overwhelming experience because it showed me that anyone can make and appreciate art and it is not just for the stereotypical museum goers (highly educated, older people). It made me feel included because art can be for everyone, including a college student.

Design of the Museum: David Greenbaum 1952-present; Irving J. Goffman Garden

My favorite part of the museum was the Irving J. Goffman Garden that was in a glass enclosure in the middle of the Harn. One of the things I find most beautiful in life is nature, and to have a small garden that incorporates nature into the art world makes the art world more appealing to me. One of the things the garden does well is to help break up the sections of the museum. The vast majority of artwork is typically hung on walls throughout the museum or in a glass display case. The strategic placement of the garden helps to break up the monotony of the displays. Even though the artwork is not monotonous it can be difficult to look at the same backdrops (the walls) of the art over and over again. The garden gave me a change of scenery and made me feel more peaceful while at the museum.

Art and Core Values: Zoilo Cajigas 1858-1962; Nuestra Senora de Monserrate (Our Lady of Montserrat)

One of my core values is my religion and faith. As a devout Catholic many saints and the Virgin Mary play a large role in our faith. I believe they are important in helping me grow as a person and to find a hand carved statue of the Virgin Mary in the Harn museum stopped me in my tracks. As I admired the statue I was able to understand how important Mary is to other people in the world too, including Cajigas who carved this representation of her. This piece gives me a sense of peace as I look at it and helps me to keep me calm. As I was going through the museum tour I was in the middle of a very stressful week and seeing her as I am doing one of my homework assignments took away some of my stress. It is one of the reasons I felt so at peace after leaving the Harn.

Art and the Good Life: Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1720-1778; View Showing the Remains of the Ancient City Walls A. of Paestum

Part of having a good life is making sure that the little pieces of your life are what you want them to be. If something smaller in your life is not what you want it to be it will impact the overall picture of your life. The piece by Piranesi above has line detail that was perfected by years of time and concentration to make a piece of art that is "good" overall. This represents how we can achieve the good life ourselves because if we pay attention to the little things in our life and make sure we are happy the little pieces will come together and form an overall happy and rewarding life. It made me realize that it is okay to take my time and focus on only one or two aspects of my life and build my life the way I want it that way.

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