Friday, July 22, 2016

Event 2: Bower's Museum

On July 20th, I decided to go to Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA for my second event. I wanted to go to this one in particular because I have heard about it from my father and my aunt. My experience was really insightful and a very different experience from my first event at OCMA. Compared to OCMA, Bowers is much more cultural and historic rather than modern.

I focused on two main exhibitions with general admission, Spirits And Headhunters: Art of The Pacific Islands and Ancient Arts Of China: A 5000 Year Legacy. My first impression of this place was that it did not look like anything special. It was not very crowded on a Wednesday afternoon. In the the lobby, there was scattered art pieces all over the place. The art pieces consisted of photography of sculptures, a giant canoe, and wooden sculptures.

The very first exhibition I saw was the Spirit And Headhunters: Art of The Pacific Islands. This exhibit focused on the regions of the Pacific Islands known as Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. This region on the edge of the pacific ocean is consisted with ethnographically diverse cultures that are brought together by the mutual understanding and knowledge for the seas.

The first thing I saw was this whale teeth necklace. It is the teeth of the sperm whale. This necklace is both valuable and powerful. If this necklace is presented to each of two men, then they are supposedly spiritually bounded together. This necklace emerged between the 18th and 19th century in Fiji, Polynesia. The purpose of this necklace and how it was made is so mind-opening because art back then involved tedious labor work which is very different from today's art.

The next thing that caught my eye was a collection of spears and arrows. This part of the exhibition showcased the artistic features that Pacific Islands used even during war. Bowers museum called this the Art of Warfare. I looked closely at the spears and arrows and they were so carefully sculpted. It is hard to believe how beautiful these are even though they did not have the amount of resources we have now.

The second exhibition I visited was the Ancient Arts Of China: A 5000 Year Legacy. This exhibit was like set up in the order of a timeline. I enjoyed this one too because of their elegant pottery and ceramics. It really reminds me of all of my grandmother's flower pots at her house. 

The piece below in particular, is a silver core vase with gold coating. There is a flower design on the exterior of the vase. It is very elegant and is dated back in the Tang dynasty (618 - 906). There is not description of how this was made but I'm still curious of how they would have made this vase with so much precision.

An very interesting piece caught my eye in this exhibit, a carved elephant tusk. It is so vivid and carved so beautifully to the extent that I was speechless when I saw it. Apparently, the figures on the tusk represented the Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology and folk religion. This was during the Qing Dynasty to Early Republic of China. It was used as a keepsake/ valuable decoration. Knowing how sturdy and strong an elephant tusk is, the carvings must have been tedious to do. 

Bowers museum had many galleries rooms for various artists. The gallery that had more meaning than others to me was the Art in Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach is very close to home for me so I was impressed to see a gallery of dedicated paintings. Laguna Beach was not fully developed until mid-1920s. I came across this piece called A Foggy Morning, Laguna Beach and it looks exactly the same as now. What I took away from this is that other things may change, but there are things that are able to stay the same. In our rapid industrial society, it keeps us grounded to see that some things don't change.

I recommend my classmates to go here because it is a very cultural museum. You do not really see that often. I saw things that open my eyes to other cultures and how they incorporated art into their everyday lives dating all the way back to year 609. I believe that Bowers museum aims to be very traditional, there weren't any modern art technology that I saw. Although this museum is historic, it is very insightful to different cultures

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