Slow Art Day & the BBC

It’s hard to believe how much Slow Art Day has grown and spread across the world since its inception in New York a mere 8 years ago. We’re looking forward to having 170+ venues from dozens of countries participate in Slow Art Day 2017. Slow Art Day has had a large presence in the UK since the beginning and this year venues from the National Gallery to the Ashmolean Museum are organizing events – so we were extremely excited to see this feature in BBC Culture on the slow art movement. Filmed at Art Basel Hong Kong, reporter Linda Kennedy discusses the merits of slow looking with a variety of artists and art critics.

Belgian artist Luc Tuymans in the BBC "How to Look at Art" video.

Belgian artist Luc Tuymans in the BBC’s “How to Look at Art” video.

Watch the full video here!

Slow Art Day Tips from the Rubin Museum

Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum of Art in New York is hosting a Slow Art Day event for the third year in a row, and they have some expert tips for you to bring with you to your slow looking experience on April 8. Their advice?

Take longer — and longer — looks
Look at a piece for 5 seconds then turn around and write down five things to describe it. Do the same thing again looking for 10 seconds, then 20.
Back-to-back drawing
In this partner exercise, two people stand or sit back to back. One person faces the object and describes it to the second, who draws it.
Ask yourself questions
Some questions Sloan recommends you can ask yourself for deeper looking include: What is the first thing you notice about this artwork? Does this make you think of anything that you’ve seen before? What do you see that makes you say that?

Read the full article on AM New York here.

Slow Art Day is coming to the Rowayton Arts Center

The Norwalk Arts Commission is participating in Slow Art Day for the third year in a row, this time partnering with the Rowayton Arts Center in Norwalk, CT. Their event will coincide with the opening of Abstractiona new exhibition at the Rowayton Arts Center featuring abstract paintings by local artists. The show was judged by New York artist and educator Riad Miah, who will also lead Slow Art Day participants in a conversation about the works.

Artist Bruce Horan with two of his abstract paintings that will be featured in the Rowayton Arts Center's upcoming exhibition "Abstraction" and on view during Slow Art Day 2017. Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

Artist Bruce Horan with two of his abstract paintings that will be featured in the Rowayton Arts Center’s upcoming exhibition “Abstraction” and on view during Slow Art Day 2017. Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

Read a full write-up of the event in The Hour here, and if you’re in the area get your tickets here!

Slow Art Day Founder Phil Terry Interviewed for “Artsy Editorial”

Thomas Struth Art Institute of Chicago II, Chicago, 1990 Phillips: Photographs

Thomas Struth
Art Institute of Chicago II, Chicago, 1990
Phillips: Photographs

Slow Art Day founder Phil Terry was recently interviewed by Isaac Kaplan for Artsy EditorialThe editorial delves into the experience of looking at art, the length of time required to look at a work of art in order to “get” it, and how museums both help and hinder the practice of slow looking.

Phil says in the editorial, ““People in the art world generally know how powerful it can be to look at a work of art for more than seven seconds.” […] “I started Slow Art Day because everyone else doesn’t know this.”

Read the full article here, and let us know your thoughts below!

Slow Art Day and the All Stars Project

In November, Slow Art Day founder Phil Terry partnered with the All Stars Project to bring a group of youth and community members to El Museo del Barrio in New York for a day of slow looking and discussion.

Phil writes, “Museums and art are for everyone – not just the few. Slow Art Day and the All Stars Project, Inc. are working together to help more people learn how to look at and love art – how to walk into a museum and not feel intimidated, to approach art as if we are all included because we are.”

Check out photos from the visit below!

It’s a Keeper!

A report from host and museum educator Nina Montijn in Amstelveen, Netherlands:

We had a great Slow Art Day at the Cobra Museum for Modern Art!

In three organized art walks, visitors were challenged to look slowly, to genuinely take their time and lose themselves in the works of art. Participants looked with awe at four selected works, discussed with each other, learned from each other.

For those who preferred to look on their own we created two guides with several tips. Also we distributed notebooks and pens, so everyone could write down their discoveries. Quickly there were visitors watching and writing vigorously everywhere.

Afterwards visitors could chat about their experiences in the museum café whilst enjoying a complimentary beverage. Here we heard many enthusiastic stories about the tour. Even works of art that didn’t seem so interesting at first, turned out to be quite captivating.

I really think Slow Art Day is a keeper!

Amstelveen Cobra 1

Reflections from Hosts: Art Gallery of Algoma

Christine Campana from the Art Gallery of Algoma wrote a great summary of her Slow Art Day experience from just over a month ago:

photo 1

Walking through the Art Gallery of Algoma during Slow Art Day leisurely examining 5 pieces of art was a worthwhile experience; not only was I given the chance to really pay attention to aspects of the works that I had previously not taken the time to truly appreciate, but the experience allowed me to converse with others and discover their interpretations.

The Art Gallery of Algoma put together a handout with photographs and descriptions of the pieces chosen. The pieces were picked by 5 different locals, ranging from artists, to art advocates, to novices, who each discovered something new by engaging with the pieces for longer periods of time than they normally would have.

Regarding the Tom Benner fibreglass, paint, leather, and mixed media piece titled “African Wild Asses,” Teddy Syrette explained in his description that he chose the piece because “it is almost like it’s a grouping of animals, they’re trying to get some place better . . .They’re all different but all collective.”  As I stood at different points around the piece with various participants, it definitely became clear in how many ways this piece could be seen.

With a shorter look at the piece, one participant revealed that she found the similarities of five synthetic animals moving in the same direction to be almost unnatural, while through a longer period of observation, another participant began to notice the differences in the animals and began to assign them their roles in the pack. She also began to see a slight shift in the direction of one of the sculptures that suggested they were starting to veer off course. Her creation of a story where each of five very similar animals had a particular character based on their visual features was only possible by really taking the time to notice these distinctions.
While “African Wild Asses” was analyzed through observing the animals carefully, “A Landscape” was enjoyed thoughtfully looking up at the piece from the floor. The arts advocate who had chosen the piece stated that she had done so because the large sphere, the focal point of the piece, “draws me in.” The wood and copper work included a total of three pieces, but, as the participant who had chosen the piece also felt, people could not help but be absorbed and overwhelmed by the immensity and beauty of the copper orb.

While hints of colour were visible within the oxidized copper of “A Landscape”, colour was far more pronounced in Gabriela Benitez’ “Rojo y Blanco.” In mine as well as others’ opinions, the vivid greens and reds overlaid with white chaotic lines released emotion which was only multiplied the longer the work was viewed.

Each of these pieces as well as the other works chosen, including a multimedia piece by Cheryl L’Hirondelle and another sculpture by Tom Benner, gave me the chance to pose and answer questions and see art from new (and many more) angles. As I walked through the gallery, I was certainly able to appreciate the value of looking at art slowly and engaging with others to discover some amazing insights I never would have thought of on my own.  Taking my time with art was a positive and rewarding experience, however, I was not so successful with the food; I had a hard time treating the slow lunch served after with the same patience–it was just too delicious!

– Rachel

Reflections from Hosts: di Rosa

A note from di Rosa host Michael F McCauley:

Slow Art Day 2014 at the di Rosa (Napa, CA: www.dirosaart.org) was the second year we participated. Again this year, the group of participants was intimate – all the better to share observations. And again I was the docent/guide for our slow art lookers. I chose a mix of mediums – two sculptures, two works on paper, and one painting. After viewing these works, we had a picnic lunch on property – the day was sunny and mild — and we discussed what we had seen, including whatever surprise element we had noticed by looking slowly. Given those basics, we’re now thinking about customizing our approach for next year. The recommended 10 minutes of slow looking without discussing seems too long. Next year, we’ll likely spend 7 minutes looking and 3 minutes discussing at each work. We’ll lunch and chat about what we saw, as we did this year. But because it is difficult to recall specifics about each work, after lunch we’ll return to the galleries for an additional viewing of each work. This will reinforce the discussion and likely open up new insights based on everyone’s observations. We’ll still follow the basic structure of Slow Art Day, but alter it to accommodate our somewhat unique situation. (Visitors to the di Rosa Collection may not return to the galleries without a docent/guide.) We’re looking forward to next year and hope to include more participants.