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