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.
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.
On April 10, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art (BYU) in Provo, Utah, welcomed visitors to their first Slow Art Day event, which was in-person. Visitors were welcomed by a student educator at the front desk, who invited them to try the four slow looking strategies outlined in the below brochure. Participants were given suggestions for art to use for the exercise, but were free to apply the strategies to any work of art on display.
Below we have summarized their four key instructions (to see the full details, look at the picture of the brochure above):
Look BIG: casting a wide net can yield a range of observations and reveal the complexity of things. How? Explore and discover everything, everywhere in any given work of art!
Narrow your focus: organizing your viewing strategy gives structure to the museum experience and helps you focus on something specific. How? Select an artwork and focus on certain types of things, such as colors, shapes, lines, faces, hands, trees, or anything that interests you.
Change your perspective: this technique can lead the discovery of small details and large patterns. How? Alter your physical distance to the artwork, as well as your angle and perspective.
Contrast & Compare: noticing similarities and differences (some of which may be intended by curators) can enrich your insights. How? Compare and contrast two neighboring artworks and describe your observations.
The event was advertised via an in-house digital banner, printed signage, social media coverage on Facebook and Instagram, and a feature in the on-campus digital newsletter. A total of 116 visitors participated in the activity throughout the day.
The Museum already has a Slow Looking Gallery Guide based on Shari Tishman’s 2018 book “Slow Looking”, which features Slow Art Day and inspired BYU’s event brochure (Note: we are planning a webinar with Shari Tischman for the fall of 2021).
Below are several photos from their event.
Philipp Malzl, Museum Educator, said that many visitors later shared their experience and insights with Museum staff. As a “thank you” gesture for sharing their feedback, the Museum gave participants a small gift (either a magnifying glass, art print, or museum pin).
They received a lot of great feedback (below are some highlights):
“I had no idea there was so much to see!”
“That was awesome! A whole new perspective.”
“I have [one of these paintings] hanging in my office, but I’ve never taken the time to really look at the details. I’m an art guy… this was different, and I loved it.”
“Usually we try to see everything in a museum, but today we didn’t. We really loved slowing down and paying more attention to the details.”
“We’ve been participating in this for years…we love slow art!”
At Slow Art HQ, we are excited that more than 100 participants took part in Brigham Young University Museum’s inaugural Slow Art Day. We loved their detailed four-step brochure, and their *thank-you* gifts. They did an amazing job of creating a welcoming environment.
We look forward to seeing their plans for Slow Art Day 2022.