This Saturday, April 8, is Slow Art Day. Around the world, galleries, museums and other institutions will encourage their visitors to spend more time than average with their collections. It has become common to speed walk through exhibits in search of the highlights, and Slow Art Day was enacted to combat this habit. Fifteen seconds is simply not enough time to digest everything that goes into creating a work of art.
In Texas, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has outlined a four-step process for art educators that challenged students to look at a piece of art for 30 seconds, turn their backs, and then try to recall and record everything they had seen. When the students return to the artwork, they notice just how much was missing from their lists–what they had overlooked the first time. Both Harvard and MIT now offer courses that lead classes in mindful looking.
We will have five photographs designated for “slow looking,” at which a minimum of ten minutes is recommended for viewing, per piece. At the end of this 50-minute period, gallery staff will be on hand to answer any questions. Discussions have been scheduled for noon and 3 pm.
You don’t need to know a lot about art to approach it. But by simply looking a little longer, you can learn more than you may expect. Discussing your observations with gallery staff and other visitors this Saturday will teach you even more. By thoroughly engaging with the photographs in our gallery, you’ll leave with a better understanding of how the work was made, why, and how it may relate to work by other artists you have seen.
Below are a few articles related to Slow Art Day:
The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum – New York Times
How Long Do You Need to Look at a Work of Art to Get It? – Artsy
Practice Looking at Art – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston