According to the visitor experience team at Tate Modern, Slow Art Day 2019 was “fantastic.”
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.
Looking at Claude Monet’s ‘Antibes’ during Slow Art Day (via The Courtauld Gallery blog)
Our 2014 host, Kirti Upadhaya, at The Courtauld Gallery in London, shares her reflections from the April 12th event:
The experience of both participating and hosting the Slow Art Day was very rewarding as it allowed me to spend time engaging with five beautiful paintings while also allowing me to consider the nature of this engagement.
Slow Art Day reinforces the importance of direct engagement with a work of art. Living in a world where information is readily available at the press of a button, I often forget that sometimes, the simplest way to access art is to build a relationship with it, to just look at it for a little longer.
Read more about Upadhaya’s and others’ experiences at Slow Art Day on the Courtauld Gallery’s blog here.
Slow Art Day 2014 at the di Rosa (Napa, CA: www.dirosaart.org) was the second year we participated. Again this year, the group of participants was intimate – all the better to share observations. And again I was the docent/guide for our slow art lookers. I chose a mix of mediums – two sculptures, two works on paper, and one painting. After viewing these works, we had a picnic lunch on property – the day was sunny and mild — and we discussed what we had seen, including whatever surprise element we had noticed by looking slowly. Given those basics, we’re now thinking about customizing our approach for next year. The recommended 10 minutes of slow looking without discussing seems too long. Next year, we’ll likely spend 7 minutes looking and 3 minutes discussing at each work. We’ll lunch and chat about what we saw, as we did this year. But because it is difficult to recall specifics about each work, after lunch we’ll return to the galleries for an additional viewing of each work. This will reinforce the discussion and likely open up new insights based on everyone’s observations. We’ll still follow the basic structure of Slow Art Day, but alter it to accommodate our somewhat unique situation. (Visitors to the di Rosa Collection may not return to the galleries without a docent/guide.) We’re looking forward to next year and hope to include more participants.