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High Museum Visit Essay

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High Museum Essay

Michael Chan

As I begin my visit to the High Museum of Art, I enter the museum plaza and see that it is surrounded by three white buildings shaped in a U-form. I immediately noticed the main levels of the buildings are made of glass, where you could see through to the inside. I believe the purpose of such a design is to invite visitors to a small glimpse of what the museum has to offer. In addition, I could not help to notice various sculptures located throughout the outdoor plaza area, which made me feel as though I was in an art district, even though it was in a commercial part of the town. The museum has a very contemporary and modern architecture. The interior is predominantly white as I associate it with elegance and perfection. I observed that there are 4 floors of galleries that is tied together by semicircular ramps that surrounds a sun-filled four storey atrium. Just like Moshe Safdie's Vancouver Library Square (2.24) on page 75 of the textbook, I believe this allows the people to become part of the architecture. Light is used as a medium, natural and artificial, to affect how we perceive the pieces of artwork. I see repetition and rhythm created from the geometric shapes (ie. squares and rectangles) of the skylights in the ceiling to the windows around the museum, down to the tile on the floor. As I walk through, I find myself enjoying some interesting pieces of art and learning about different genres. In this essay I will discuss and analyze 6 specific pieces of art from 3 genres: sculpture, modern, and folk art.

In analysis of the modern age artists, I was able to understand how modern artists took traditional images such as human figures and landscapes to create new modes of art such as Cubism, abstraction, and the mobile. In Fernand Leger's Three Women, French, 1921-1922, stylization is applied to this artwork, in which it shifts from absolute realism by emphasizing the women figures into massive geometric forms. Repetitions of square and circular forms are noted throughout, which are repeated on a larger scale in the heads and body joints. The body is shaded at the edges to create a three dimensional effect. Female nude has appeared in classical art but the mechanical, geometric form and pattern depiction of these three female nude drinking tea and coffee represents the modern machine age after World War I. The long flowing hair which is solid black, stylized, and frozen, I believe, also further emphasizes the modern machine age. This use of stylization in Fernand Leger's Three Women can be compared to and is similar to Diego Rivera's Flower Day, page 19 in textbook. Personally I prefer realism in artwork versus the mechanical look when depicting human figures. The second modern age art piece that drew my attention is Jasper John's, Map, America, 1961. When I saw this piece the first thing that came to my mind is, "What is its content"? It looks abstract and expressive, using primary and secondary colors with complementary hues. The vibrant colors and the blurring of the state lines create an emotional connection for me toward our country. I believe that the emotions, experiences, and meaning of this art piece changes depending on who is looking at it.

In moving this essay to looking at folk art genre now, I would have to say that it was motivating to see pieces of art work created by individuals that have no formal training in visual arts. I particularly like two pieces of work from this genre. The first



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