Valerie Arntzen, assemblage artist at AMP Studio in Vancouver, Canada, invited Slow Art Day 2019 participants to look at one of two pieces of her artwork slowly and then discuss the experience.
Not surprisingly, Valerie found — as Marcel Duchamp once said — that the “spectator completes the work of the artist.” In other words, the Slow Art Day participants were active co-creators of Valerie’s art bringing new and varied meaning and perspective.
It’s great to have artists and “spectators” directly interact via slow looking. In fact, we invite artists all over the world to open up their studios for Slow Art Day and hope that more will follow Valerie’s example next year.
The Clare Gallery in Hartford, Connecticut hosted its third Slow Art Day last April featuring an exhibit of works by Ann Grasso, “Begging Bowls and Offering Bowls.”
They came up with an interesting design for their session.
Here’s what they did:
- Each participant chose one work from the exhibit to study individually for fifteen minutes.
- Then the group moved from piece to piece with the “student” of that work describing their reflections, questions and connections.
- Following the individual study and discussion, viewers then studied three works at length as a group.
- At the end, the artist Ann Grasso herself, who had observed everything up to that point, joined the dialogue.
Grasso told participants that she was delighted by the many details, shapes, and cultural symbols they saw through her work (including, of course, some she herself did not see).
Here at Slow Art Day we encourage artists to participate like this as long as they do what Grasso did here: wait to the end to share their reflections (otherwise, the artist can overdetermine what the viewers see or don’t see).
Patricia Curtis, who helps run the gallery, said the day went well and they are looking forward to 2020.
“Participants seemed to lose themselves in the meaning of the works and thoroughly enjoyed hearing so many insights and interpretations.”Patricia Curtis, Pastoral Associate to the Clare Gallery Committee
The Clare Gallery is a not-for-profit professional exhibition gallery located in the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry in Connecticut.
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For Slow Art Day 2019, Mildura Arts Centre in Mildura, Australia hosted a day full of events including slow looking at the Sam Loyd exhibit, “The Lost Photographs of Socrates Smith,” as well as meditation sessions with local artist and yoga instructor Laura Freitag.
The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada participated in their first Slow Art Day in 2019 by inviting visitors to slow down with ceramics, glass and mixed media from Canadian artists.
After one hour of slow looking, visitors gathered for 30 minutes to discuss their observations about the material and meaning of the works, including the hidden qualities and stories they discovered.
According to The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, one participant said it was “exhilarating to meet new people and share so many diverse perspectives about the artwork.”
We look forward to the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery’s participation again in 2020!