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Slow Art Day News

Happy Holidays – 1.1 billion new art lovers?

December 23rd, 2022
As I reflect on the last year in art, I must first acknowledge that we at Slow Art Day operate in a different world than our peers at auction houses, art festivals, magazines, and large “money center” museums. In that world, Christie’s just reported that it sold $8.4 billion in art in 2022 up 17% from 2021. Sotheby’s sold $7.7 billion, while Phillips sold $1.3 billion up from $1.2 billion the year before.

So the big three auction houses together moved $17.4 billion in art.

This is not the world of Slow Art Day.

It’s not that we oppose the money-driven art market.

No.

We simply don’t interact with it much.

From time to time they have showed a distant curiosity in us – typically a side glance. And that’s understandable. We don’t create more art buyers.

No.

Instead, we work to create more art lovers (and sure that might create more art buyers, but that would be at most a side effect).

We want to change the reality where, as surveys show, the majority of people do *not* visit an art museum in a given calendar year (with young people being the *least* likely to attend).

So here’s a thought experiment.

What if we took the $17.4 billion spent in the art market this year and applied it instead to buying art museum tickets for first-time visitors. If you assume the average price, when there is a fee, is around $15, then our network of educators and curators at museums all over the world could give those 1.1 billion new visitors a slow looking experience that could help them learn how to look at and love art.

How about that?

As the Washington Post so accurately wrote about us, our movement is radically inclusive. We don’t tell participating museums what to do (except to suggest broad guidelines) and they don’t tell visitors how to interpret what they are looking at (except to suggest guidelines about how to slow down).

We aim to get out of the way and allow the beautiful, emotional, visual, cognitive experience to occur directly between visitor and art.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Watch this short video to see young people slow down and look – and discover the joy of seeing art.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJCR_tyYs20

At Slow Art Day, our strength comes from our independence.

We do not rely on funding or support from the established art world.

In fact, because we are volunteer-driven and open source, we have almost no budget and thus no need for dollars from anyone.

Instead, we rely on the hard work of our long-term volunteer team *and* thousands of educators and curators around the world.

And, as you can see in the video above, we, and the many millions of people who look at art, are not passive consumers of art, but active co-creator‘s of the art experience.

In other words, we believe in the radical notion first expressed by Duchamp — that the spectator completes what the artist began.

And we believe the art hanging in museum walls around the world is collectively owned by humanity and humanity can come claim that ownership through the simple act of looking.

More than 1500 museums have participated in our annual Slow Art Day and hundreds of thousands have learned to look at and love art.

Maybe we can make our goal for the 2020s to reach 1 billion new visitors with this radically inclusive program.

Just a thought.

Hope you have a wonderful, slow, and happy holiday season filled with art, the love of art, and the love of the best of who we all are as humans.

Best,

– Phyl, Ashley, Jessica Jane, Johanna, Maggie, and Robin

Ready, Set, Slow… Art Weekend with the McLean

December 20th, 2022

For their first Slow Art Day – Slow Art Weekend, actually – the McLean County Museum of History, along with eight other downtown Bloomington, Illinois partners, held a Ready, Set, SLOW! event.

Hosted by Hannah Johnson, Education Program Coordinator at McLean, this Slow Art Day, organized with nine participating locations, was a true citywide event.

Including the McLean County Museum of History, the other participants were: Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio, Art Vortex Studio & Gallery, Eaton Studio Gallery, Inside-Out Accessible Art, Joann Goetzinger Studio Gallery, Main Gallery 404, The Hangar Art Co., and Threshold to Hope, Inc.

Photo credit: Hannah Johnson

Inspired by the Downtown’s First Friday theme, visitors were invited to engage in an evening of egg hunting and art viewing at the Museum. Two posters were created for the event, including prompts for the attendees to consider, and small cards for each image were handed out. Literal and figurative Easter eggs were hidden in reproduction art works from the Museum’s collection for a Slow Art and egg hunt inspired seek-and-find.

We love the playful nature of their event design.

Below you can find examples of the various poster formats they used. Educators and curators around the world should feel free to copy elements of what they have done with their event (and posters).

Photo credit: Hannah Johnson

Original works from the Museum’s collection complete with Slow Art appropriate prompts were on display the entire weekend, along with an annual installation of the Clothesline Project in partnership with YWCA McLean County Stepping Stones.

Emily Aminta Howard, Painting of Grapes and Apples, Oil on Canvas, c. 1890/1900
Rupert Kilgore, Abstract Portrait, Oil on Canvas, c. 1955/65
Takashi Ode, Mountain Scene, Watercolor, c. 1980/90

T-shirts decorated by local sexual assault survivors were also displayed as testimony to their survival and the chronic problem of violence against women in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The McLean County Museum of History traces its roots back to 1892, and is a nationally-accredited award-winning museum with five permanent exhibit galleries and two rotating galleries.

Photo credit: Hannah Johnson

We look forward to what innovative approach McLean County Museum of History comes up with for next year’s Slow Art Day.

Best,

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Johanna, and Jessica Jane

P.S. Find out more about the McLean County Museum of History on one of its social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, History Pin, or Flickr

Ur Mara Museoa Shows All of Us How to Celebrate Art

December 14th, 2022

Ur Mara Museoa, located in Gipuzkoa, Spain, held its seventh Slow Art Day this year.

This Basque museum has been a real leader in the slow looking movement showing all of us how to celebrate via daylong events that combine art, food, music, and dance (below is a video from 2019 showing one of their events).

This year’s hosts Koldobika Jauregi and Elena Cajaraville featured work from six artists including Aitor Irulegi, Aihnoa Goenaga, Koldobika Juaregi, Juan Chillida, Julia Leigh, and Maria Giró.

During the event, each artist was given a chance to discuss their work with the attendees (see below for photos of the art as well as photos of participants).

Juan Chillida, Constelaciones
Juan Kruz Igerabide and Koldobika Jauregi, Anaforak
Maria Giró and Julia Leight, La memòria dels dits
Aitor Irulegi, Euria
Ainhoa Goenaga, Isilune

Afterwords food was shared at a community table.

We can’t wait to see what this wonderful and creative group comes up with for next year.

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Johanna, Jessica Jane

P.S. Ur Mara Museoa can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo.

GAMA Presents Seven Works, Five Artists, and Food

December 14th, 2022

The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art (GAMA), located at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, held their first Slow Art Day this year, which was hosted by GAMA Administrative Staff Members Madeleine Boyson, Theresa McLaren, and Lynn Boland. They chose seven works by five artists exemplifying a range of styles and media.

Kara Walker, Boo Hoo, 2000, linoleum cut on paper, Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, Colorado State University, gift of Polly & Mark Addison, 2009.2.21. [A black and white silhouette linoleum cut by Kara Walker titled “Boo Hoo,” illustrating a crying woman holding a snake in her left hand and a whip in her right].
Anna Bogatin Ott, Juliet, 2017, acrylic on canvas, Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, Colorado State University, gift of the artist in memory of Gregory Belim, 2018.15. [A square, pink painting by Anna Bogatin Ott with small hatch marks against a white wall, underneath a sign that reads “Scott Family Lobby.”]
After Claude Lorrain, Le Sacrifice au Temple d’Apollon dans I’lle de Delos (View of Delphi with a Procession), ca. 1648-1650, oil on canvas, Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, Colorado State University, gift of Larry Hartford & Torleif Tandstad, 2016.1.16. [A view of a large, gold-framed painting against a green wall, featuring a large tree in the center, many small figures in the foreground, and a temple in the background.]
Unidentified Tibetan Artist, Vestment Cabinet, ca. 1840 (Qing Dynasty), paint on pine, Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, Colorado State University, gift of Larry Hartford & Torleif Tandstad, 2016.1.126. [An ornate, multicolored vestment cabinet by an unidentified Tibetan artist from the 19th century, traditionally used to store liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion.]
Enrique Chagoya, Linda maestra!, Ni mas ni menos, and Se repulen from The Return to Goya’s Caprichos, 1999, etching and aquatint on paper, Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, Colorado State University, gift of Polly & Mark Addison, 2005.144.8, 2005.144.3 and 2005.144.7 [A view of three framed works from Enrique Chagoya’s series “A Return to Goya’s Caprichos” against a red wall.]

Museum staff approached visitors with a short handout (see below) detailing instructions on how to find the works, prompts for slow looking, and an invitation to discuss amongst themselves, with a staff member, or in larger, more “formal” discussions at 11:30am & 3pm.

Note: Educators or curators might want to copy this simple flyer for their own slow looking events.

After participants finished their slow looking sessions, the museum provided bottled water and light refreshments in the lobby (nice touch!).

We look forward to seeing what they come up with for next year.

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Johanna, and Jessica Jane

P.S. The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and Vimeo.