Harn Museum of Art Rebecca witschel

Medium of the Art & Technique of the Artist

Fancy Dress Masquerades in Ghana from the African Masquerades Exhibit

Out of all of the other artwork at the Harn, I felt like this was the one that was most appreciated in person. While walking up to the figure I was attracted to its vibrant colors and shapes, fringed detail, and cartoonish human features. After reading its description, I learned that this was a popular masquerade outfit in coastal and central areas of Ghana. People will actually design masks and compete for awards regarding the creativity of them. The material used in this work is particularly interesting as opposed to common mediums of artists because the materials used are ephemeral, and therefore they are only worn for one year. For these reasons, I found this piece to be really refreshing and different from a majority of the artwork I saw that day. It's things like this that remind us how diverse the world is that we live in. There are so many cultures that admire different qualities than the Western world does, and I find this fascinating; something that would not gain much attention or appreciation in the US could be something really valuable in another part of the world.

Design of the Museum

Ceramics: Avenues of Exchange

When walking by this wall of ceramics, I knew this display demonstrated the uniqueness of the design of the Harn. This is displayed between the Asian Art Wing and the original Harn Museum galleries, and that's why I found part of its name to be clever: "Avenues". It was a sunny day on my visit, so there was a particularly beautiful glow casting upon the display from the sun through the large window from a room that was directly across from it. There are ceramics from China, Japan, Central Asia, and South and Southeast Asia featured. I found this to be an extremely aesthetically pleasing sight as I transitioned from one part of the museum to another. Its various colors and carefully designed patterns on the ceramics are unique, and I find it interesting to think that this was a very valued practice in this area of the world. Today, it is easy to be distracted by all of the current day popular past times and hobbies involving technology, so for something like this, that requires a lot of time, effort, and care, to be something that remains very important to people, to me is a breath of fresh air. The ceramics are displayed together because it signifies how different cultures were inspired by one another, and utilized each other's innovative ideas while still incorporating their own traditions. This as a whole is representative of how art is a community, and there is an artistic exchange of ideas, techniques, and styles that will continue to inspire and influence future artists. Overall I felt like this was a clever way to fill the space between the exhibits and to offer visitors to be intrigued by something everywhere you look in the Harn.

Art & Core Values

Islandia, Goddess of the Healing Waters in the Intra-Action: Women Artists

Audrey Flack's sculpture Islandia represents a golden goddess figure. features a contemporary goddess figure that is exemplary of power, celebration, and exuberance. The figure is brightly colored, wearing only a robe that leaves her upper body exposed, prominent wings are attached to her back, and her arms are outstretching. The gold overtone to her face and clothes suggests that she is noble and worthy. Her arms reaching out are expressive of the desire for men and women to be considered equal; for the virtue of women to not be taken for granted…rather appreciated for its natural form and qualities. In other words, the goddess is calling for a balance of power. This is something that really stood out to me in a unique way. I am a feminist, and I believe that even today women are not offered the same opportunities as men in education, the work force, etc., so this is something that is very close to the heart. I had never really seen before something that I thought was powerful and embodied gender equality in an art form. Before I had strictly stuck to facts, statistics, and history, but this sculpture allowed me to see this topic in a different light. This is definitely a good thing, and that is what life is about: seeing the different angles of situations and topics and exploring them and using that knowledge to define who you are and who you want to be.

Art & The Good Life

The Guerrilla Girls display in the Intra-Action: Women Artists Exhibit

These are some of the pieces on display by the female artist group, The Guerrilla Girls. I think they, through their art, demonstrate what attaining the good life means. This was a group of 7 women who remain unknown, as they are famous for wearing gorilla masks to keep their identities a secret, so people will focus more on the meaning of their work rather than who they are. The Guerrilla Girls saw this injustice, the oppression of women in their daily lives that people justify by ascribing that treatment to sexual difference between men and women, and they set out to make people aware of this and to emphasis why this must come to an end. The Guerrilla Girls use statistics (such as men vs. women salaries and positions in the work force) and real life events (such as quotes of lyrics of famous songs that are deprecating toward women) and paste them onto posters to show that this is a very real problem. They are not afraid to acknowledge it and lobby for change on behalf of all women. This is something that brings them purpose, which is something I empathize with greatly. And this, I believe, is a significant aspect of attaining a good life: not being afraid to stand up for what you believe is right.

These posters display the wide range of jobs in the art department of various colleges that women possess vs. men

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