Host Report from Margaret McCue, Zürich, Switzerland

[In this series, we will be posting reports from Slow Art Day hosts around the world who held Slow Art Day events on April 27, 2013. This week, we are featuring the Slow Art Day event run by Margaret McCue, held at the Rietberg Museum in Zürich, Switzerland]

Dear fellow hosts,

I hosted an event at the Rietberg Museum in Zürich, Switzerland. The Rietberg is a “world art” museum, meaning non-European. Many participants said they especially appreciated the cross-cultural aspect.

Nearly everyone said they wished there would be more frequent Slow Art
events.

The most difficult part was the discussion: I chose the museum’s cafe, which has only small tables that can’t be easily rearranged so we were divided into small groups of four. I had hoped we could eat and converse on the museum’s terrace, at tables that we could have moved around to accommodate whatever size turnout. However, this is Zürich, and it poured rain. So, I would do this part differently in the future.

I chose the five pieces for variety: big, small, simple, complex, colorful, monochromatic, painting, sculpture, ceramic, in different locations throughout the museum (which is in several small buildings) and no repeat of a culture. A few asked me whether there was a theme, and most did not realize or understand that I had chosen the art: they thought that (somehow!) the Slow Art Day organization itself chose the art at all locations. Several noted that they especially liked the variety, the moving around, and the freedom to just look at those pieces without feeling compelled to look at anything else.

I totally enjoyed hosting this event, and appreciate the Slow Art Day organization for making it possible for anyone to host. The participants were, for me, a fun combination of people I know personally and complete strangers who discovered it through Eventbrite. Most of all, I appreciate the concept: slow down and absorb what you see.

Thanks again to all who made this a world-wide event,
Margaret

Slow Art, Fast City

Slow Art Fast City from Raw Footage Films on Vimeo.

Beyond slow looking we had no rules. We weren’t looking for anything, we didn’t have to like what we saw, there would be no wrong way to look or right way either.

See video coverage of founder Phil Terry’s 2013 Slow Art Day event embedded above from Raw Footage Films. Phil’s event took place at the Brooklyn Museum with each participant viewing five works. Each viewer was eager to view these hand-selected works and discuss the experience afterwards.

The group felt gratified knowing that “while our conversation was specific and personal,” 270+ venues across the world were having their own “attentive and unmediated” conversations about art. As the fast-paced antics of New York City beckoned at the close of the event, the participants left gratified with a new awakening to the benefits of slow looking.

Feeling inspired?
Don’t forget it’s never too early to sign up as a host or to participate in a 2014 venue near you.

Was your Slow Art Day event similarly invigorating? Share your experiences below in the comments!

Host Reports: Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth, Australia

[In this series, we will be posting reports from Slow Art Day hosts around the world who held Slow Art Day events on April 27, 2013. This week, we are featuring the Slow Art Day event run by Susan Way, held at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth, Australia]

Hi Everyone,

Slow Art Day was celebrated at the Art Gallery of Western Australia by featuring four photographs from the Picturing New York: Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art exhibition. The day was a great success and started with 15 participants. As our Voluntary Gallery Guide, Alan Ruda, ushered visitors slowly around the exhibition more and more people gathered. By the second set of photographs there were easily 40 people participating. By the end of the tour there were between 60 and 70 people crowded around Michael Wesely’s 7 August 2001-7 June 2004 The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s An Eye at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The group had high energy and were very interested. In the end, Alan suggested the group break into smaller groups and go back to the photos that really interested them. Everyone was very happy with this and Alan spent another hour answering specific questions and listening to the keen observations visitors made about the artwork.

We had organised to take photographs as a small group retired to coffee and conversation in our Manhattan Lounge. However the sheer number of participants prevented this from happening – which is a positive in our eyes. Our day may not have gone exactly as we imagined it, nevertheless to quote Alan, “It was a heck of a lot of fun!”

Regards,

Sue

Host Reports: Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin

[In this series, we will be posting reports from Slow Art Day hosts around the world who held Slow Art Day events on April 27, 2013. This week, we are featuring the Slow Art Day event run by Karen Barrett-Wilt, held at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin]

Hello from Madison WI!

Highlights of our first Slow Art Day included eating lunch outside (Spring is here!), 15 participants, and a great conversation. The conversation required very little facilitating from me. A couple of people had never been to the Chazen Museum of Art, but all were still very willing to talk about their experiences. We had a spirited conversation with a lot of respectful disagreement, which is one thing that I love about art – no one is wrong! I’d like to add my thanks to the organizers – you were incredibly efficient and responsive, and made it all so easy. Thank you!

-Karen

Karen also included a couple of photographs of one of the pieces they viewed at their Slow Art Day, Beth Cavener Stichter’s L’Amante, 2012.

Stichter L'Amante 2

Stichter L'Amante 3

Slow Art Day with David Faux at the University Museums at Iowa State University

[In this series, we interview hosts for Slow Art Day and get their thoughts on hosting, the art of looking, and the slow art community. Today we interview David Faux, who is hosting a Slow Art Day event at the University Museums at Iowa State University.]

Slow Art Day: Tell us a little about yourself.

David: I am a recent graduate of Iowa State University with a B.S. in history and a minor in Native American studies. I’m a new interpretation specialist here and I am responsible for working with my colleagues to develop programing that will interest the fickle and ever-changing pool of 18-24 year old students that we have on campus.

Slow Art Day: And tell us about the distinctive history and collection of the University Museums at Iowa State University.

David: Iowa State University was the very first land grant college in the nation and today Iowa State has the largest collection of public works of art on any campus in the nation. This unparalleled collection of over 2,000 works includes two grand scaled murals by Grant Wood, 12 major sculpture installations by Christian Petersen during his 21 year residency, and nearly 600 other major works of art by nationally and internationally known artists.

Slow Art Day: Why did you choose to host Slow Art Day there?

David: Far too many students  walk to and from class with their heads down oblivious to their surroundings. Programs like Slow Art Day fit right in with our other programming efforts to get people to stop, look around, and engage with all of the wonderful objects that inhabit their learning environment.

Slow Art Day: What works are you going to be viewing?

David: We are going to be looking at some of our N.C. Wyeth painting from the artist’s America in the Making series. We are fortunate to have the complete set and we are going to be loaning the works out soon, so I am giving as many ‘last chance’ exposures to the work as possible. The works are are part of the New Deal era regional works, one of our most extensive collections.

Slow Art Day: Tell us about a work of art you like.

David: The other day I represented the University Museums in rededicating The History of Dairying mural located in the courtyard of our Food Sciences department. That mural was the very first that Christian Petersen painted/sculpted for the college (as part of the PWPA) and the fountain attached to the mural has been out of service for over 20 years.  That fountain plays a crucial role in the history of our art on campus legacy, but more importantly was an important part of a lot of past Iowa Staters’ lives and memories. To share in those memories and be a part of a new and exciting chapter of that sculpture’s role on campus was an extremely humbling moment for me.

Slow Art Day: Thank you, David. Good luck with Slow Art Day!

[Make sure to check out David’s Slow Art Day event at the University Museums at Iowa State University.]

Slow Art Day with Elizabeth Markevitch at ikonoTV, Berlin

[In this series, we interview hosts for Slow Art Day and get their thoughts on hosting, the art of looking, and the slow art community. Today we interview Elizabeth Markevitch, who is a global sponsor of Slow Art Day through her interesting company, ikonoTV, Berlin.]

Slow Art Day: Let’s start with a bit of background about yourself and ikonoTV. You are the founder, right?

Elizabeth: Yes, I founded ikono in 2006.

Slow Art Day: What was your founding vision?

ElizabethDuring my long-time experience in the art world, I became more and more aware of the necessity for exploring new ways of displaying art and opening it up to a broader audience. Art needs to be seen, and the joy of seeing and experiencing art should not be restricted to a small group of art professionals or collectors.

Slow Art Day: As you know, of course, we share that vision with you. How did you get from that vision to starting ikono?

ElizabethI explored different paths.  I cofounded www.eyestorm.com in 1998 as the first online gallery at that time selling international contemporary art on a global scale. Then, some years later, the fundamental idea of making art internationally accessible found its final and strongest realization through ikono.

Slow Art Day: So why bring art to TV in this new way?

Elizabeth: I thought why not achieve for the arts with TV as radio has been achieving for music? Why not use this mass medium for bringing the entire world of arts into the homes of an international public? Over the past few years, we have established a wonderful collaboration between art historians, curators, and cameramen in working with artists and international art institutions. We are producing video clips about artworks from all time periods, movements and disciplines, highlighting single exhibitions as well as the most stunning collections and treasures of our cultural heritage.

Slow Art Day: Tell us more about how you ‘see’ art.

Elizabeth: The first encounter with art is a visual one – you just need your eyes for discovering and experiencing its richness and plurality. A certain knowledge or expertise is what comes in a second or even third step. ikono offers this very first meeting: we are building a visual bridge to the arts, encouraging you to trust your eyes, and to rely on what you see and feel.

Slow Art Day: How does this connect with your notion of time?

Elizabeth: We take the notion of time seriously by inviting you to dive into the artwork contemplatively and to become fascinated by its details. You will always discover things you have never seen or noticed before! We allow art to speak for itself, which is why we never add any sounds or narrative elements and why we avoid any interruptions from commentary or advertisement. However, in case you would like to know more, you can of course find all additional information and further links on our homepage.

Slow Art Day: You guys are planning something special for Slow Art Day – five video clips, each dedicated to a single artwork. Say more.

Elizabeth: We decided to dedicate the entire program for April 27th, 2013 to Slow Art Day. Our curators have selected some of our most beautiful video clips to be presented throughout the day: we will showcase Hans Holbein the Younger’s double portrait of The Ambassadors and the unexcelled depiction of The Tower of Babel, painted by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. We will present artworks of Caspar David Friedrich, the wonderful Eugene Delacroix, Vincent van Gogh, and the universal genius Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Viewers will also find contemporary examples, including the fascinating light installation of Kite & Laslett, our current Artists of the Month, and the Spatial Reflections series, a selection of artistic positions from Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, curated by Charlotte Bank. I do not want to reveal too much before its presentation, so please feel cordially invited to tune in for discovering more!

Slow Art Day: Can people watch ikonoTV if they are not currently in your cable footprint?

Elizabeth: At the moment you must meet certain technical requirements to watch our HDTV program. While ikonoMENASA is broadcasted in the countries of the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Southern Asia via satellite (ArabSat) or IPTV (du, Etisalat or Solidere IPTV Broadband Network), ikonoTV is on view in Germany and Italy via Telekom Entertain and Cubovision.

But we have very good news: In 2013 we will increase our international presence by also being on view in new countries throughout Europe. Furthermore, we have already started preparing our live web stream, which is to be launched within the upcoming months. From that very moment on, everyone around the world will be able to enjoy art and to contemplate it wherever they are-an amazing perspective! In June we will announce further details, so stop by our website or join our newsletter to stay posted. Also begin checking our blog right away, where you will find all further information about ikono’s support of Slow Art Day 2013!

Slow Art Day: Great – thanks for sponsoring Slow Art Day again this year.

[Make sure to tune into ikonoTV, Berlin, if you can!]

‘Fair go’ and Slow Art Day – An Interview with Elle Credlin

[In this series, we interview hosts for Slow Art Day and get their thoughts on hosting, the art of looking, and the slow art community. Today we interview Elle Credlin, the Public Programs officer for Bayside City Council in Sandringham, Victoria, Australia.]

Slow Art Day: Tell us about yourself and about Bayside City Council’s Art and Heritage Collections.

Elle Credlin: I’m Bayside City Council’s Art and Heritage Collections and Public Programs Officer. I have a Bachelor of Arts (History) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Heritage/Museum Studies. My role is to manage Council’s art and heritage collection and also run public programs for the Gallery @ BACC. Council’s art and heritage collection is comprised of over 2000 items including municipal records, plans, maps, textiles, photographs, mayoral regalia and a range of visual arts.

Slow Art Day: That’s great. Tell us more about your role as Public Programs Officer.

Elle: I develop and manage the range of public programs and outreach services to accompany and enrich the exhibition program. These include things like curator’s talks, workshops, tours, art appreciation evenings and now Slow Art Day! We also run an Art and Dementia program titled Connections. Through discussion based tours of art work, the program provides a unique opportunity for people living with dementia to connect, interpret and express experiences through a work of art.

Slow Art Day: Please tell us more about the Dementia program. Do many other programs like that exist in Australia?

Elle: Connections is based on the National Gallery of Australia’s award winning Art and Alzheimer’s program. In 2012, gallery staff received training from NGA educators in how to deliver the program. Each program runs over a four week period and three works of art are discussed each week amongst the four participants. The program employs specialised forms of communication and strategies to encourage participation and support inclusiveness. These strategies include hand gestures, smiling, leaning forward and allowing for silence. It is run during normal gallery opening hours to prevent the marginalising of participants. We are really proud of Connections because it extends beyond many activities commonly available to people with dementia. Participants are able to engage in meaningful activity in an environment where their intellect is respect and valued. As far as I’m aware, we are the only local municipal gallery that runs this particular type of program in the state of Victoria, but that may have changed.

Slow Art Day: Why are you so passionate about making art more accessible?

Elle: I absolutely hate the idea that people could be intimidated or frightened by visiting a gallery or find themselves plagued by the ‘white box syndrome’. Galleries should be inclusive and welcoming. Every single person should have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts. More broadly, as we are based within a local government context, we also need to align ourselves with the broader organisational mission of inclusivity, accessibility and facilitating opportunities for people of all abilities to participate in community life.

Slow Art Day: We obviously agree. Switching gears – Slow Art Day has really taken off in Australia. There are 13 venues in Australia making it more than 5% of the total worldwide venues yet Australia has only about .3% of world population.  Why do you think Slow Art Day is such a big hit there?

Elle: I’m not sure, that is a really interesting question. Melbourne, in particular, has a thriving artistic and cultural scene so that could have something to do with it. Maybe the fact that Slow Art Day is an accessible and affordable activity mirrors the ‘fair go’, non-elitist attitude of many aspects of Australian culture and life i.e. that everyone should have access to the same opportunities and experiences.

Slow Art Day: Say more about ‘fair go’ – is that Australian lingo?

Elle:  ‘Fair go’ is a very Australian term.  Although it has many different meanings, I think it is fundamentally a commitment to egalitarianism in all aspects of culture and life; that we are all given every reasonable opportunity to access to the same opportunities and rewards. That is how I see it anyway.

Slow Art Day: What more can you tell us about your event? Have you chosen your art?

Elle: For Slow Art Day, we will be celebrating the works of a number of significant early 20th century Australian artists, including Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Arthur Streeton. We will be having lunch in the municipal chambers. If it’s a nice day, we might sit out in the rose garden.

Slow Art Day: You plan to make Slow Art Day a regular fixture in your public programs. Does that mean you plan to do regular events throughout the year based on slow looking?

Elle: Yes, Slow Art Day will now be a regular feature in our program. Our Art and Dementia program, as mentioned, is very much aligned with the idea of slow looking. We also host ‘soiree’ type evenings with wine and cheese, which are very popular. These evenings are very relaxed and people are encouraged to take their time with the works.

Slow Art Day: Let’s finish by asking what’s one of your favourite pieces of art? And why?

Elle: That is a hard question! I love Ben Quilty’s work. I think he’s amazing.

[Make sure to check out Elle’s Slow Art Day event at The Gallery at BACC in Brighton, Victoria.]

Slow Art Day Interviews Sarah Bluvas of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Slow Art Day, recently spoke with Slow Art Day host Sarah Bluvas who works in the education department at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The Nelson-Atkins has been a participating Slow Art Day venue for three years now, though this is Sarah’s first time as a host.

Slow Art Day: What are your thoughts about Slow Art Day?

Sarah Bluvas (SB): I think Slow Art Day is a phenomenal idea. I love the concept of just stopping and looking. One thing I’m curious about is the conversation aspect after the viewing time. I think it’s one thing to encourage people to come and look at a piece of artwork, but it’s a whole other challenge to get them to sit down and talk about it.

Slow Art Day: That’s a good question. We find that once people look at art slowly that they are bursting with enthusiasm to talk. We always tell hosts that they just need to be prepared to get out of the way because attendees – especially first-time museum goers and other novices – are very excited to talk.

SB: I’m glad to hear it. Not only do we want people to come to our programs, we also want them to be more active participants and encourage conversation. So for the discussion after the Slow looking event, I am really hoping that people will be willing to share their experience. Even if it’s as simple as them saying, “I liked that work” or “I didn’t like that work”, and why—I think it further achieves the purpose of art.

Slow Art Day:  So in other words, it solidifies the experience?

SB: Yeah. I mean, first and foremost, it’s about getting people to stop and look at art. But then for me, the question of “Why is it important, why do we want people to stop and look” is brought up.

Slow Art Day: Absolutely.

SB: I just think Slow Art Day is a great program to get people to stop and look at art and to think how it fits into their lives. I’m really excited to be a part of this movement!

Slow Art Day: Great. Shifting gears – have you chosen your artwork yet for Slow Art Day? If so, what are you thinking?

SB: We try to choose works from a variety of areas in the museum’s collection. I’m still trying to narrow down my choices for this year’s Slow Art Day, but I know there will be a nice mix of pieces. Some highlights will include Ritual Disc with Dragon Motifs (Bi), from our Chinese collection, and Memento # 5 by Kerry James Marshall, from our Modern + Contemporary collection. We also have the beautiful Kansas City Sculpture Park, so, depending on the weather, I would love to include a sculpture in the park and send people outside to look!

Slow Art Day: And, what is one of your favorite works of art?

SB: In the museum’s collection, I love all of our works by Thomas Hart Benton, a Kansas City-native and one of the three great artists of the Regionalism movement. However, my all-time favorite work of art is Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, on view at the Art Institute of Chicago. One of the reasons I like it so much is because of the idea of prolonged looking, actually! The narrative, or lack of a narrative, in Nighthawks is so complicated and fascinating to me. You can look at it for hours without really knowing what’s going on!

Slow Art Day: Finally, tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do – and why do you do it?

SB: I am the Coordinator for Public Programs at the Nelson-Atkins. I assist with planning, implementing and facilitating more than 120 public programs per year, mostly for adult and family audiences. I think museums are really important resources for the communities they are located in, but I also think museums can be a little intimidating for people. So I plan programs for and with the community to help the public realize that this is their museum and that they can find themselves here, too. It’s nothing to be scared of!