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Slow Art Day News

Slow Music Comes to Antwerp

June 22nd, 2024

Armond Storck, the Scriptor at Sint-Pauluskerk (St. Paul’s Church) in Antwerp, who has spearheaded the Slow Art Day movement in churches, is now planning, with his colleagues, a 12 hour slow music concert on July 27, 2024.

First, more about Storck’s support for Slow Art Day.

Storck and his colleagues have hosted seven previous Slow Art Day events and they passionately believe that churches are a natural home for Slow Art Day. “Not only are many churches brimming with works of art, but the locations themselves naturally invite reflection. The slow, sensory perception is a way to arrive at the (religious) meaning of a work of art. Time runs almost noticeably slower in our churches than in the world outside,” said Storck.

As a result of Storck’s efforts to evangelize Slow Art Day to other churches, this year there were four churches in Antwerp participating, each of which had gone through preparation and training coordinated by an organization called the Tourism Pastoral and Monumental Churches Antwerp.

Now back to his plans for slow music.

On July 27, titular-organist Bart Rodyns will play Erik Satie’s Vexations for 12 hours (6 a.m.-6 p.m.) at five different locations throughout St. Paul’s Church in Antwerp.

Interestingly, this piece of music from 1893 has only 18 notes, divided into 3 lines, which are repeated 840 times according to an arithmetic scheme. Spending the day listening to this should be meditative and hypnotic, perhaps revelatory.

Here’s how it will work:
– 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Bart will play the harmonium in the high choir
– 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bart will play the piano in ‘t Schooltje during breakfast
– 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will hear Bart on the electric piano in the Calvary
– 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bart will play the historic organ in the church
– 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Finally, Bart will finish his marathon in the crypt on a chest organ

The amazing historic organ, pictured below, features three manuals, a pedal board, seventy-four registers, and 3,303 pipes. Oh my.

Sint-Pauluskerk historic organ – photo copyright Reinhard

And here is a photo of Bart Rodyns in his “Satie” outfit (i.e., dressed like the composer). Love that Victorian-era purple/blue long-tailed double-breasted coat and floral (or paisley?) waistcoat. And the yellow trousers? Fantastic. The glasses add a modern touch.

Food will be available: Breakfast in the morning, then starting in the afternoon snacks, beer and wine at “democratic prices.”

If you are in Antwerp, go.

If you are not, then consider traveling for this extraordinary slow musical experience.

– Phyl

P.S. For more information, consult this article (it’s in Dutch so use Google to translate if you need it in English or another language).

Slow Puzzles at the Eskenazi Museum of Art 

June 17th, 2024

For their second Slow Art Day, the Eskenazi Museum of Art in Bloomington, Indiana, offered visitors a wide range of activities, including in-gallery sketching, snacks, self guided tours, discussion, and an art-based puzzle contest. Note that the museum is part of the growing Bloomington city-wide Slow Art Day event – which this year included more than 20 museums and galleries across the city (remarkable!).

For the slow looking activity, three artworks were highlighted by Eskenazi, though guests were encouraged to pick any piece in the collection:

Swing Landscape” by Stuart Davis

“Matter” video by Adam Magyar
Below is a still image from the video.

“Flight of a Thousand Birds” by Anila Agha

To facilitate individual slow looking and discussions, the museum re-used their slow looking hand-out from last year (with a few tweaks). We invite all museum curators and Slow Art Day hosts to view the particularly well-designed hand-out below.

Keaton Clulow, Public Experiences Manager, shared that the puzzle contest was particularly popular. For that, guests were asked to spend at least ten minutes with “Swing Landscape” by Stuart Davis before attempting to put together a giant 3D puzzle of the piece from memory. 

Visitor viewing “Swing Landscape” by Stuart Davis.

The museum was also successful at involving all generations, including young people (see below).

Slow looking participant viewing an artwork in the museum. Photo by Shanti Knight.

At Slow Art Day HQ we love the creativity the Eskenazi brings to designing its Slow Art Day activities. We know we would enjoy working on the “slow-puzzle.”

We can’t wait to see what the Eskenazi Museum of Art comes up with for next year’s Blooming citywide event (which may turn into a statewide event – stay tuned).

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. You can follow @eskenazimuseum on Facebook and Instagram.

P.P.S. The museum asked us to include this statement: The museum wishes to acknowledge and honor the myaamiaki, Lënape, Bodwéwadmik, and saawanwa people, whose ancestral homelands and resources Indiana University Bloomington occupies.

Slow Art Day in Köping, Sweden

June 12th, 2024

For their second Slow Art Day, Köpings Museum in Sweden organized both an in-person as well as an online slow-looking event. Additionally, this year the local library in Köping participated in Slow Art Day by borrowing a painting from the museum to use for slow looking.

Visitors to Köpings Museum were invited to join a slow-looking guided tour in the exhibit “A picture – a story” (“En bild – en historia”) by Ulf Rehnholm and Inger Holmberg.

Exhibition poster for the exhibition “A Picture – A History”

Visitors were also offered the below slow-looking instructions (in Swedish) for a self-guided option, as well as paper binoculars to help focus on details in the art.

The museum also offered an online slow-looking alternative through their Facebook page, where they shared instructions and the below photo of “Solar Altar” by Lars Lindeberg from the museum’s collection.

“Solar Altar” by Lars Lindeberg (1925-2011). Color lithograph, 1999. The artwork belongs to Köping municipality’s art collection. The image was used for Köpings Museum’s digital Slow Art Day event.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love seeing the library and museum work together – this is a great partnership that should inspire other museums around the world to work with their local libraries. Perhaps next year we will see more such partnerships develop.

In the meantime, we look forward to what Köpings Museum and the Köping Library come up with for 2025.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. Stay up to date with future events at Köpings museum via their Facebook page

P.P.S. There is no possessive apostrophe in Swedish – so Köpings Museum is written without that apostrophe (in English it would be Köping’s Museum).

Slow Art Day Across Generations at MART, Italy

May 28th, 2024

For their fourth Slow Art Day, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (MART) in Italy, hosted a slow looking event aimed at creating a multi-generational experience.

Denise Bernabè, the Membership Coordinator at MART, selected five pieces from the Galleria Civica di Trento, the museum’s venue for temporary exhibitions and a hub for local Trentino artists. These works are part of the exhibit titled “Allegoria della Felicità Pubblica” (“Allegory of Public Happiness”), featuring pieces by Maurizio Nannucci, Diango Hernandez and Nan Goldin. The selected artworks were sent to participants via email a few days ahead of Slow Art Day, so that they could take their time and contemplate them slowly on their own in advance.

Participants engaging with Maurizio Nannucci’s “Moving Between Different Opportunities and Open Singularities,” 2017-2018
Participants engaging with Anna Esposito’s “Prima e dopo il concerto,” 1982
Participants engaging with “Tired Stop” by Diango Hernàndez, 2008

On Slow Art Day, participants were divided into two groups, each guided by a coordinator who engaged them in conversation about the artworks. They re-titled the works based on what each group felt they should be named and assigned scores from 0 to 5 based on the level of emotion evoked and aesthetic pleasure. They also discussed if they would put the artwork in their own home.

Further to make the inter-generational conversation work, an old “Amico del Museo” (literally ‘friend of the museum’), who is a professor at the University of Enology in San Michele all’Adige, brought a group of students to join Slow Art Day. These students were then invited them to engage with their “Amici del Museo” (lit. ‘friends of the museum’), mainly made up of older participants.

Discussions between and across generations were inspiring, and many said that they enjoyed the experience.

“Slow Art allows me to truly see the artworks, to see them through my own eyes. I visit so
many museums that I often walk through the galleries without really looking. But Slow Art
reminded me that artworks have meanings, even if there are multiple interpretations. It’s
my task as an art advocate to capture at least a couple of those meanings.”

MARIAGRAZIA, Slow Art Day participant

“What I appreciate about Slow Art is the opportunity it gives me to listen to different
opinions, often enriching my own understanding of the artwork. It sparks discussions and
inspires me. I’ve also noticed that I’m now influenced by slow looking even when I visit
other museums on my own.”

GIUSEPPE, Slow Art Day participant

Slow Art has become a well-established practice at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rovereto and Trento (MART). Every month since 2020, a selection of artworks is presented to the Friends of the Museum (“Amici del Museo”), MART’s Members. They view the artworks together and share their perspectives both online and in person.

At Slow Art Day HQ we are always excited to hear about events at MART and how they continue to engage the wider community of museum members, including across generations, in slow looking activities throughout the year as well as for Slow Art Day itself.

We can’t wait to see what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2025.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl