Tate Modern Slow Art Day 2019: ‘Fantastic’

According to the visitor experience team at Tate Modern, Slow Art Day 2019 was “fantastic.”

Participants slowly looking at The Snail by Henri Matisse

They organized two one-hour slow looking sessions split between two artworks and, then, after the sessions, the team invited the visitors to come together for tea, coffee, biscuits, and a discussion about the whole experience.

Here’s what some of the participants said:

“A really interesting session. I’m more mindful of how to observe art in the future.”

“What a wonderful idea!

“I understand now how you can spend so much time in a gallery looking at art!”

“The combination of looking at art slowly and with other people is a real eye opener.”

“Really like the concept. As someone who can feel a bit intimidated by the art world this felt like a really nice way in and gives me more confidence to engage with art in the future.”

“A brilliant concept, lovely to think that this is going on all around the world.”

“I will definitely bring friends next time. Do it again!”

“I felt like a part of a group/community and was an hour well spent.”

“We can’t wait for next year to do it again,” said Adriana Oliveira, Visitor Experience Manager there at Tate Modern.

Phil

Happy Holidays – 1.1 billion new art lovers?

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

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

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

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.

Second year for Slow Art at the Bowers Museum

The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California ran their second Slow Art Day, where they invited museum visitors to join them in the galleries of California Bounty

Opened in 2016, this permanent exhibit takes visitors through a “rambling journey” of California’s visual history – a “history shaped by a unique mixture of Mexican and Anglo traditions as well as the state’s position on the Pacific Rim.” 

Photo credit: Bowers Museum Instagram page for Slow Art Day

For Slow Art Day, The Bowers Museum replaced their normal public tours with two special Slow Art tours and advertised them as being held in conjunction with Slow Art Day; including links and an explanation about the day. Docents guided visitors in closer looking at select paintings from the historic California collection.

VP of External Affairs Kelly Bishop hosted Slow Art Day. We’ll note that Bishop previously worked at SF MoMA, which has been a longtime participant in Slow Art Day.

We can’t wait to see what Bishop and this important California museum come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

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

P.S. The Bowers Museum can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

BYU Museum of Art Hosts Virtual Slow Art Week

For their second year hosting a Slow Art Event, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art decided to host a week of virtual activities.

Led by Director of Education, Philipp Malzl along with student educators Joseph Rowley, Susannah Kearon, Sophie Houghton, Kate Daily, and Alexa Ginn, the social media-based event encouraged viewers to slow down the fast pace of internet/social meldia viewing and contemplate a work of art for 60 seconds or more.

YouTube videos were created highlighting works on display at the museum, and prizes were offered for commenting on each video. Each of the five videos is below:

Some of the comments received include:
“I definitely am the type to often rush through art museums and only stop to look at paintings that I have seen before. Once I stopped to look at this for longer I realized just how liminal the composition is, and how much darker it felt when I just spent time with it for a moment. Super cool!”

“I love this series of 60-second videos! It is meditative to watch. My daughters are watching them with me now. One daughter noticed the vertical lines of the figure and the basketball hoop, and how if you turned the painting upside down, those lines would still be in similar places. The other daughter noticed that the basketball hoop was a tin can with the bottom cut out.”

The Brigham Young University Museum of Art hosts slow looking tours on a quarterly basis, in addition to having a printed slow looking guide available year-round at the information desk.

We look forward to seeing what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

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

P.S. The museum can be found on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Cloudless Slow Looking with TarraWarra

For their third Slow Art Day, the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Melbourne, Australia, invited the public to a mindful slow looking session and group reflection featuring work by David Noonan from the exhibition David Noonan: Only when it’s cloudless . The event was led by Sarah Metzner, museum educator at TarraWarra and a visual, collaborative, and public artist who has been working with different community groups for 30 years.

On Slow Art Day, participants followed a 20-20-20 ratio of time during the hour. They were first welcomed and then invited to look at David Noonan’s artwork “Only when it’s cloudless” for 20 minutes.

David Noonan: Only when it’s cloudless’, installation view, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2022. Courtesy of the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery, and Modern Art, London. Photo by Christian Capurro.

The group then spent 20 minutes slowly watching David Noonan’s 20 minute film: Mnemosyne, which has a focus on evoking memories (a link to the trailer is included in the picture below) before the session was rounded up with shared reflections for the final 20 minutes.

Note: We recommend you watch the trailer. We found it beautiful, eerie, and a little ominous.

Still from David Noonan’s 20 minute film: Mnemosyne.

The event was well received, with one participant saying that the experience “enhanced my love of art and mindfulness and reminded me to slow down and be present with myself and my practice.”

We look forward to what the TarraWarra Museum of Art comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, Robin and Phyl

P.S. You can find TarraWarra on Facebook and Instagram.

Slow Down, Live Long, and Live Well at the Sociedade Das Artes in Serra Negra, Brazil

For their third year, the Sociedade Das Artes in Serra Negra, Brazil held a hybrid Slow Art Week, hosted by artist Henrique Vieira Filho. The Sociedade Das Artes features works by contemporary artists, along with artistic services and products.

Exploring the theme of “Slow Down, Live Long, and Live Well,” the gallery allowed for four visitors at a time and each visitor chose which works of art they wanted to appreciate slowly (note: the gallery asked that visitors RSVP ahead of their visit to secure a time to attend).

Visitors in the gallery space.

Henrique Vieira Filho wrote, as part of the day, “Living at a fast pace certainly has a certain charm (“live fast, die young”), however, I think the alternative is much more interesting: slow down, live a lot, and live well! The Slow Art Movement advocates the experience of time with greater QUALITY for everything and everyone.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Online advertisement
Henrique Vieira Filho holding a copy of O Serrano with an article about Slow Art.

The event was advertised online (see above) and there was also an article written in the local press (also see above).

Visit Google Drive or Facebook to view a video that was created to allow people to explore the exhibit virtually.

We love their focus for 2022 and look forward to seeing what they come up with for next year.

Best,

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

P.S. The Sociedade Das Artes can be found on Instagram and Facebook.

Open-Air Slow Art at Europos Parkas

For their third Slow Art Day, Europos Parkas, or the “Open-air Museum of the Center of Europe”, held an in-person event hosted by Lina Karosienė of the European Park, and Karen Vanhercke and Justina Kaminskaite of Easel World, an agency focused on connecting people through art.

Located in the geographical center of Europe, near Vilnius, Lithuania, the European Park is an outdoor museum of modern and contemporary art that has been operating since 1991.

Location of Europos Parkas

Their Slow Art Day featured sculptural works by Marius Zavadskis and Adomas Jacovskis, seen below.

Photography courtesy of Gintare Užtupytė
Photography courtesy of Gintare Užtupytė
Marius Zavadskis, Carousal, Photography courtesy of Gytis Juodėnas
Adomas Jacovskis, Lying Head, Photography courtesy of Gytis Juodėnas
Photography courtesy of Gintare Užtupytė

We love sculpture parks and would have enjoyed slowly walking around and inside some of these sculptures.

Participants of the Slow Art Day seemed to love it too – and reported that slowing down changed their relationship to the park and to the art. “Earlier I just saw this park as the place full of objects, and now I see the artworks in a whole new light,” said one. Yes!

The team at European Park also produces year-round Slow Art programming and has created a special route through the park that encourages participants to look at art (and nature) slowly.

This beautiful video in Lithuanian (below) on their YouTube channel gives an idea of how they have done this.

It’s great to have this central European art park participating, especially during this difficult time for the region. We look forward to seeing what they come up with for their fourth Slow Art Day.

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

P.S. You can visit European Park’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Slow Art Day at the Museum of Gloucester

For their first Slow Art Day, the Museum of Gloucester, UK, organized an in-person event where participants were invited to explore paintings from their exhibition “Two Millennia of Changing Faces: Gloucester’s Architecture. Fifth century to twentieth century“: a collection that encapsulates the architecture and built heritage of the city of Gloucester.

Flyer of the exhibition “Two Millenia of Changing Faces: Gloucester’s Architecture.”

For the event, visitors were encouraged to slow down and look closely at each piece for 5-10 minutes so that they could ponder how architecture has inspired and shaped stories of Gloucester’s people, culture and industry.

At Slow Art Day HQ we look forward to their next year’s event!

P.S. You can follow them on their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

JJ, Ashley, Johanna, Robin, and Phyl