Slow Art Day founder Phil Terry was recently interviewed by Isaac Kaplan for Artsy Editorial. The 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!
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!
Here at Slow Art Day we focus on how visitors engage with physical works of art – how paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other media are perceived, considered, and experienced by the viewer. But in our digital age, museums are increasingly trying to deliver “snackable” digital content – short bursts of entertaining and enlightening information delivered through social media initiatives or interactive installations. In an article published by The Guardian earlier this week, Danny Birchall, Digital Manager at London’s Wellcome Collection, eloquently makes the case that digital or virtual engagements with artworks allow for the same unhurried, slow potential as physical interactions. Birchall writes, “[…] if museums can deliver snacks, why not three-course meals? Is there space in museums for slower and longer digital experiences for audiences to savour and enjoy?” Birchall uses the Wellcome Collection’s Mindcraft, an immersive and interactive tool that describes the history of hypnotism over the course of a six-chapter digital story, as a case study for his article. However, even the relatively long-form (for the digital realm) Mindcraft is only about 15 minutes long – a fraction of the length of your typical Slow Art Day event. Is this enough to ensure visitors’ full engagement with digital content? Can museums offer an immersive, engaging digital experience that avoids superficiality and truly deepens the visitor’s experience of a work of art without relying on gimmicks?
Read the article “Museums should make time for slower digital experiences” here and tell us your thoughts!
When we walk into a museum or gallery nowadays, we are instantly confronted with a rather large number of artifacts which demand our attention. I always find myself pondering where to start my journey. Is it with this painting to my left? How about this wonderful African mask straight ahead? While museums and galleries are generally quiet and peaceful places, they nevertheless hold enough artifacts to potentially overwhelm the visitor.
It’s true that we don’t spend enough time actually looking at a painting anymore. In fact, we spend more time reading the description underneath it than contemplating the painting itself. Even though we attempt to return to contemplation with the help of Slow Art Day, there is nevertheless a crucial element in today’s paintings that is not always beneficial to slow looking.
When we stand in front of a painting, the whole scenery is present before us. It’s not entirely surprising that we spend little time on contemplating paintings. We think that because everything is there in laid out in front of us at one time, we don’t have to work very hard at the act of looking. It’s certainly beneficial to those always-in-haste people that today paintings are not unrolled and displayed gradually, as traditional Chinese scroll paintings were.
Hanging scrolls and hand scrolls were common features in Chinese painting, which often featured beautiful landscapes – mountains and waterfalls in particular. Painters infused their works with Taoist thoughts and beliefs such as simplicity, which was, in part, made visible in the use of monochrome textures, i.e. black and white. It finds its most extreme application in Zen painting; works famous for their black ink on white rice paper.
The often meters-long scrolls had two main goals. First was the delayed contemplation. The viewer was unable to quickly grasp the entire scenery, because the scroll had been unrolled scene after scene, so that the viewing process lasted longer than we spend on paintings (even during Slow Art Day!). And then there was the narrative aspect, the ancient precursor of film if you will, long before photography paved the way for the development of cinema. The step-by-step unraveling of the scroll allowed for a narrative development. It thus contained not only one scenery, but several, which were linked to one another and formed a painterly entertainment for the viewers. It was a slow pleasure, in a way like a slow film, which takes its time to develop.
The above painting is a five metre long scroll from the Chinese Sung Dynasty (c. 960-1126), painted by Chang Tse-Twan. It is considered as a scroll painting that stands at the beginning of narrative development in Chinese painting. While nowadays we would see the entire scroll displayed at once, in those days viewers only saw parts of it, one after the other. It is not difficult to see how the slow unrolling of the scroll created a heightened pleasure for the audience. I often wish that painters would return to this form of painting that not only creates a work of quietness, but also generates excitement over what we will see next in the scroll; a real journey through a painting.
How successful can Slow Art Day be? Two of our 2014 hosts, Catherine and Jilda, reflect on their experimental event in immersive engagement – digitally and by non-traditional museum audiences.
Catherine and Jilda document key moments and behind the scenes insight for their National Museum of Australia event.
To read more about their event, click here.
In need of some great DIY activities for the kids this summer?
Take inspiration from our 2014 host The Georgia Museum of Art’s Slow Art Family Day!
– Rachel & Karen
Greetings from Richmond, VA, USA
But what’s interesting about Slow Art Day is that it offers a practice (look for at least 10 minutes) and the possibility of an experience that’s owned by the viewer. It’s why giving attention to art at the very least brings new perspective, and is in the words of business thinkers potentially ‘disruptive’ in that it can over time shift how you see things. In a world of customization and personalization digital technology provides us with the stuff based on previous choices – it makes life easier.
– John O’Reilly, Slow Art Day and the value of spending time looking at pictures, Image Source, (via).
Image Source has interviewed our founder, Phil Terry, on his thoughts about Slow Art Day!
Read on to find out the original inspiration and “a-ha” moment that sparked Slow Art Day’s birth, why freedom is important for the viewer’s engagement, what Phil Terry means by “monogamous-in-the-moment“and much more here.
Hello fellow hosts,
The Museum of Paleontology and Palaeontology Maglie (Lecce, Italy) will host “The Origin of Art” Saturday, April 12.
I am hosting this event because I firmly believe that we must understand the art from its origins, from the times when the basic need of man to communicate. The understanding of this concept requires slow pace to overcome the aesthetic idea of works of art, to discover the values and the deepest needs of the soul.
If you are in Salento (Puglia), do not hesitate to connect with us! Good luck to all of you for your respective goals Days of Art on Saturday.
– Dr Medica Assunta Orlando
Sign up to participate in this event here.