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).
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.
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.
Wayne Thiebaud died on Christmas Day 2021 at the age of 101.
Thiebaud was one of the most important American artists of our generation. Mis-described as a “Pop Artist”, Thiebaud’s work was simultaneously accessible and deep, rooted in art history and slyly funny, idiosyncratic yet universal. His work, accessible in print and online but always best seen in person, was thick with glorious impasto and color nuance.
American in his subject matter – he famously painted still lifes of cakes and pies, but also archetypal figures and landscapes of the vertiginous hills of San Francisco and the rolling Sacramento Delta. Thiebaud was eclectic in his influences: there is as much Matisse, Daumier and Cezanne in his works as there is the influence of Hopper and Disney. Moreover, Thiebaud had a brilliant mind, as evidenced in this 1981 essay A Fellow Painter’s View of Georgio Morandi.
Thiebaud was always looking, looking, looking, and open to the new. This brief video by the Morgan Library gives some insight to his constant evolution as an artist (as well as a look at some of his great work).
At the end of his life he did a series of paintings of the most hackneyed subject in American art – clown paintings – and made them into a transcendental experience.
An exhibition of his work was shown last year at Laguna Art Museum. While Covid restrictions prevented a Slow Art Day there, my review for the local paper can be read here.
Moreover, Thiebaud the man was humble, approachable and kind.
You can see that in this video below where he takes a slow look at Rosa Bonheur’s “outstanding” painting, The Horse Fair.
Thiebaud had a second home in Laguna Beach and loaned and gave works to the local museum, as well as mentoring artists up to the final year of his life. He liked to work in the mornings, play tennis, take a nap and work again in the afternoons. He drew daily. He loved to teach and each of the three times I’ve heard him lecture he repeated the same anecdote:
“I love to ask students, especially beginning students one question: ‘Who is painting the painting – you or the painting?’ They invariably answer ‘I am painting the painting’ To which I say ‘Wrong answer! You need to follow the painting and see where it takes you.”
What wonderful words of advice, as regards painting and life.
Hedy Buźan Founding Host, Slow Art Day
Hedy Buzan is an artist and founding host of Slow Art Day. She also helped launch the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival, an annual arts festivalin Southern California.
Slow Art Day is committed to publishing posts like this from our hosts around the world. Here are some tips.
The Three Sisters Tearoom, in Campbellsville, Tennessee, hosted their first official Slow Art Day – and due to popular demand, they decided to hold slow looking sessions throughout the whole month of April.
The Stowe family, who run the tearoom, designed their Slow Art Month around selected paintings that featured tea as a centerpiece.
One of the Family. Fredrick George Cotman
Beauty and the Beast. Jessi Wilcox Smith.
During the sessions, visitors looked slowly at the selected works while sipping tea and listening to live music. This was followed by an engaging discussion where participants shared their observations.
The paintings selected, along with many others, are included in two slow-art-inspired books: Infused: Tea Time in Fine Art, and The Hide and Seek Gallery: A Child’s I Spy in Fine Art. Both books are written by Jennifer Stowe, slow art author, tearoom owner, and mother to the three sisters that the tearoom is named after.
The events were well received by participants of all ages. Julia Stowe said that she and her sisters are excited to continue hosting multi-generational slow art sessions throughout the year.
“Guests of all ages enjoyed this set-apart time to consider art, and the unique and intriguing observations from art-observers of various generations were especially delightful.”
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love that the Stowe family have adopted multi-generational slow looking sessions throughout the year.
We have been thinking about creating an annual tour to visit Slow Art Day museums and galleries all over the world. Assuming we make that happen, we hope to visit Campbell, TN and try their tea and slow art infusions.
In the meantime, we look forward to what the Three Sisters Tearoom comes up with for Slow Art Month in 2022.
Johanna, Ashley, Jessica, and Phyl
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about their approach, read the Summer 2021 newsletter below.
In April of 2020, Slow Art Day veteran Hedy Buzan co-ordinated an event inspired by Wayne Thiebaud’s edible-looking paintings of food.
Sent out as a ‘Super Challenge’ via Mailchimp, Hedy asked participants to make their own sketch of Thiebaud’s ‘Jolly Cones’ with colored or standard pencils. She also provided hints and step-by-step pictures of her own process, which we include below following Thiebaud’s original:
After they completed the challenge, participants were invited by Hedy to send images of their work alongside three observations from the exercise. Following the instructions, Hedy also included this helpful reminder:
“Remember, we are not trying to make a perfect drawing but are using sketching to S L O W down and learn to look.“
The event had several asynchronous participants. One of them, Ellen Brundige, even captured a time-lapse video of her digital drawing, viewable here, the final result of which can be seen below:
Hedy, who helped launch Slow Art Day in 2010, has previously collaborated with the Laguna Art Museum, where the original ‘Jolly Cones’ is exhibited. The Laguna Art Museum had to close this year due to the pandemic but Hedy hopes for further slow looking collaborations.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we have been impressed with the resourcefulness of all the hosts this year as they have found ways to connect people through art across virtual platforms. We love the fun spirit of Hedy Buzan’s challenge and look forward to more innovative Slow Art Day events from this pioneering artist in the future.
1 – Progress#15 interpreted as Matcha Lemonade: ‘Misterios con Matcha’
2 – Warmer interpreted as Hibiscus Ginger Mocktail: ‘Jamaica Haven’
Participants were provided with written explanations to illustrate the connection between the art and drinks, and were guided through each recipe to make the drinks themselves.
In her description of Progress #15, Ammala Lacroix writes that Ruiz-Kim’s juxtapositioning of coloured triangles highlights “the irony of differentiation”.
This theme was reflected in the different states of the lemon in the ‘Misterios con Matcha’ drink (liquid, solid and frozen). “Despite being presented in differing states,” Lacroix writes, “at the end of the day, a lemon remains a lemon”.
On the other hand, Ruiz-Kim’s Warmer explores the theme of reconciling the divide between past and present through an edited collage of digitally layered pictures taken by the artist’s paternal grandfather in New Mexico. Lacroix writes, “Maritza Ruiz-Kim tells the story of her family by creating soft pink landscapes informed by the past but seen through new eyes.”
The ‘Jamaica Haven’ drink connects to the artwork Warmer through its colors and inclusion of traditional Mexican ingredients like hibiscus.
The event had 25 participants on Slow Art Day itself and received strongly positive feedback. It has since been viewed by over 60 participants asynchronously.
Participant Torange Yeghiazarian, Founding Artistic Director at Golden Thread Productions, said that she “loved the drink recipes” and appreciated learning about their inspiration from Ruiz-Kim’s art. Patty Tsai, Senior Associate Director at Columbia Alumni Association Arts Access also loved it and hoped to promote it to her group.
On April 26th, ArtemisSF also hosted additional virtual ‘see’ and ‘hear’ events involving activities such as a Zoom poetry reading in connection with the ‘taste’ event for Slow Art Day. Invitations for all events were designed by Ruiz-Kim.
At Slow Art Day HQ we love seeing such a beautiful focus on the senses in connection with virtual art, and very much look forward to ArtemisSF’s continued creativity and participation next year.
For their first Slow Art Day, the Byron School of Art Project Space in Mullumbimby – a small Australian town well-known for its artist colony – combined several multi-sensory activities along with food and yoga.
They started Slow Art Day with an artist talk by Marlene Sarroff whose exhibition 365 Days: You Get What You Choose is a meditation on everyday practice. Marlene spoke about her long history of working and exhibiting in artist-run spaces, about finding materials whilst not seeking them, and also about being awake to possibility.
After Marlene’s talk, participants began something organizers called The Slow Art Challenge. The challenge started with five minutes of silent looking at one artwork, then followed that with a group discussion. Next, participants took a few moments to enjoy cups of tea together, and then reconvened in pairs to observe a second chosen work in silence. For the final segment, they listened to music while looking at another artwork, and then held another discussion after that multi-sensory experience.
And as if this were not enough, their Slow Art Day finished with an evening Slow Flow Yoga Class led by yoga instructor Shien Chee from Seeker + Kind yoga studio, their neighbor two doors down. Chee and Meredith Cusack, BSA Project Space Coordinator, wanted to integrate yoga, sound, smells, and sight. They came up with the idea of using the art as a way to talk about drishti (gaze point). As a result, Chee built her class around changing drishti – looking at different works, but also from different positions, and heights. Wow.
The Byron School of Art Project Space had such a good – and creative – first Slow Art Day that participants asked if they would do the exercises for other exhibitions, which they plan to do. They also look forward to participating in Slow Art Day 2020 and we look forward to having them back. They are a wonderful addition to the global slow looking movement.
AX, the Arts and Culture Centre of Sussex in New Brunswick, Canada, held a multi-sensory Slow Art Day 2019 led by artist Deanna Musgrave, who had recently researched and written her Master’s thesis on multi-sensory art experiences.
Musgrave, whose own art was being shown, began by guiding the participants through a relaxation exercise, using sound and voice commands to invite the audience to achieve a trance-like state. She then focused on three pieces of work and encouraged viewers to experience tastes (wine, chocolate, peaches), smell (wine and peppermint), and sounds (recorded instruments) paired with each piece.
According to AX, audience members, ranging in age from 8 to 70, said that the slow multi-sensory session really enhanced their experience.
In other good news, Bonny Hill, Exhibitions Committee Chair at AX said they recently applied for and were awarded a grant to curate and host an exhibition of artists who work in the “slow art” style, using outdated technology and painstaking methods to create contemporary work. That exhibition will launch in early 2020, and perhaps be the focus of their Slow Art Day 2020.