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.
For their 7th Slow Art day, the Harn Museum of Art, located on the campus of The University of Florida in Gainsville, featured 5 artworks from their collection, including:
– Dogon Couple, by Kehinde Wiley – Northeast Gorge at Appledore, by Childe Hassam – Pli Selon Pli, by Akiyama Yo – Waiting for the Signal, by Robert Fichter – Horizontal Mask (korubla), by a Senufo artist
Host Allysa Peyton, Curator and Student Engagement Manager, and a group of University of Florida student ambassadors greeted participants with a flier that spelled out instructions, featured art works, and space to draw or take notes (see below).
The Harn instructed attendees to spend 10-12 minutes with each of the five featured artworks and encouraged them to not only draw or make notes, but also to reflect on the experience of looking slowly – and how what they see in the art may change over time.
After the slow looking session, everyone then gathered for tea, cookies, and discussion.
Educators and curators in the slow looking movement should take a look at their simple flyer (attached above) and consider copying elements of their approach for future sessions.
The Harn Museum of Art has also launched a year-round program Art & Mindfulness, which incorporates slow looking and guided meditations in 40-minute workshops.
We at Slow Art Day HQ like the incorporation of drawing and notes – and especially appreciate the cookies and tea (yum, yum) at the end – and we look forward to seeing what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.
Each in-person visitor was given a journal in which to record their thoughts, observations, and ideas with the following attached label:
Through guided observation, visitors were asked to think about the following:
Spend a few moments being present with this piece. Pay attention to thoughts/emotions. As you gaze at the piece, notice your breath and your body.
Describe: What do you see?
Analyze: Think of 4 emotions or words that you associate with this piece.
Inquire: What does this piece tell you about yourself?
As you reflect on these photos, jot down a memory in this shared journal that comes to mind.
For visitors who couldn’t make it to the museum, art therapy students at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania held a Virtual Open Studio. An aspiring art therapist guided visitors through slow looking techniques.
At Slow Art Day HQ we love seeing the use of art therapy techniques for Slow Art Day and look forward to what the Erie Art Museum comes up with, perhaps again in partnership with Edinboro, for their fourth Slow Art Day
For their first Slow Art Day, Monique Silk and her colleagues at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, created a series of Slow Art Cards in sets of five so both patients and visitors could participate. The cards utilized three different art works from their art collection and a photo from their archives. On the back of the card, they included a series of instructions on ways to look at the art works slowly.
The prompts they used are:
Look: Give yourself a few minutes to look all over the art work. Let your eyes wander to all corners of the image, top to bottom and left to right.
Observe: Notice the colors, shapes, objects, textures and markings on the surface of the art work. Where do your eyes focus?
Feel: What words come to mind about this art work? How do you feel looking at this art work? Does it remind you of anything?
Share: Share your experience of looking at the artwork with someone and post an image of the work online with a word of reflection and hashtag #slowartday2022
Cards were distributed to various hospital departments to share with patients and visitors on Slow Art Day. The response from the staff to the cards was very positive.
Monique also a slow art activity in the hospital courtyard. This activity invited people to sit and slowly look at their statue of St Vincent de Paul. They even invited people to come and hold his hands and interact with the sculpture directly. While people were a bit shy when sitting with the sculpture, the hosts gave people space to interact without feeling as though they were being directly observed.
One patient was wheeled out to the courtyard to be with the sculpture of St. Vincent and her caregiver said “this was the highlight of her day”. Another staff member said they had never noticed the sculpture before and thanked the hosts for giving them the opportunity to “feel” the presence of St. Vincent.
The pastoral care staff decided that the cards can be used on an ongoing basis and one chaplain said that:
“It’s a joy to offer the beautiful slow art cards to patients. There has been gratitude expressed from those who received your wonderful gifts. Such a great initiative!”
After the events, the hosts realized that they should have included a First Nations art work, which they plan to do for Slow Art Day 2023.
We at Slow Art Day are so happy that St. Vincent’s in Melbourne decided to celebrate Slow Art Day 2022 with patients and visitors. Perhaps, this is the beginning of a trend of many more hospitals around the world joining the slow looking movement, and bringing the power of learning to look at and love art to patients, visitors, and staff. This is a true Mitzvah.
On April 2, 2022, the El Nido Art Space presented by VC Projects in Los Angeles, CA hosted their first Slow Art Day, which focused on a two-person exhibition titled “War and Peace” (Ukrainian Voices) by Denys Kushnarov, a Kyiv-based filmmaker, and Yuri Boyko, an LA-based Ukranian-American photographer and artist.
The in-person event featured six short films about Ukraine, which Kushnarov is associated with:
“Make Music Not War!” (made after the Donbas region and Crimea Peninsula were annexed by Russia)
“There is a Place” (dedicated to the Chernobyl tragedy)
Memorial Choir “Ukraina”
Kushnarov also wrote “A Message from Ukraine,” a letter to the world based on the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The exhibition also featured the photography series, “Departure and Arrival”, by Boyko, which presented written prose and a visual exploration of the LA-based Ukranian-American artist’s grandmother’s home in Ukraine. Boyko visited the home after 30 years of absence, and found that all family rituals and traditions were still intact. His photographs capture a past that has now been destroyed.
Victoria Chapman, Founder and Director of VC Projects, curated the exhibition by contacting the two artists in the wake of the Russian invasion. She writes, “What could be more relevant for Slow Art Day … taking pause to reflect on art and humanity.”
The event was attended by 50 guests, and was promoted on their website, where you can find links to the videos and view more of the photography. You can also check out more from VC Projects and the El Nido Art Space on Instagram at VC Projects and El Nido Art Space. Below is a flyer used to promote the event:
We at Slow Art Day HQ are deeply saddened by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and are glad to see communities come together to reflect on art and humanity.
During the event, participants were taken through a step-by-step presentation by Zora Carrier, Executive Director of FMoPA, which we highly recommend curators and educators review and consider for inspiration for their own events.
Participants were first invited to do a body scan — noticing their sensations without judgement. We love this beginning. This is a great way to ground people in their body and senses.
Once they were tuned up, they were then invited to look slowly at two photographs by Paul Caponigro and David Dennard, and think about the following promts for each:
Look carefully at this artwork. What do you notice? Write down your observations. Be thorough.
Carefully review your observations.
Write down any inferences, opinions or conclusions formed because of known facts?
Are there any details that you want to know more about? Write 3-5 additional questions.
What is the context of the image?
What might the photographer be feeling?
Is the image positive, negative or neutral?
Is this image about an idea/concept that we can’t recognize with our five senses?
To finish the session, all participants were asked to do some breathing exercises and write a gratitude note to a person of their choice, guided by a three-step prompt:
Step 1: Focus on the recipient. Spend a few moments thinking about the note recipient—what they did for you; what they said; what it meant—focusing on the feel of the paper, colors, or what mental images come to mind when you think about the person.
Step 2: Be specific and personal. Think about the thing you’re most grateful for out of your relationship with the person.
Step 3: Think about how it made you feel—then and now. Don’t feel restricted by making it look ‘good’ as long as you can communicate your gratitude. Art is subjective, and this won’t be criticized.
In our own slow looking of these two photographs, we were particularly captured by the juxtaposition of the lush, first photograph with the spare moonscape-like second photograph. Then, after several minutes, we looked at the caption and realized that the artist of the first one is the subject of the second one. That brought added joy to the slow looking experience.
We recommend that all Slow Art Day educators and curators do as we did, and go through Carrier’s presentation. As much as possible, look with a child’s naive eye.
We are very happy to welcome FMoPA to the global Slow Art Day, and can’t wait to see what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl
PS. When we started Slow Art Day, almost no museums offered regular slow looking programming. We are happy to see that FMoPA not only participates in the global Slow Art Day, but also runs monthly slow looking events.
The Art Gallery of St. Albert, Canada, pivoted their 2021 event at the last minute from planned in-person sessions to their social media pages and the Gallery’s virtual exhibitions. They did this because four days before Slow Art Day 2021, the Canadian provincial government announced further lockdowns.
The situation the Gallery faced is, of course, similar to what many other museums have had to contend with since this pandemic began in 2020. However, time after time, we have seen museum educators, directors, and curators rise to the challenge and connect people to each other and to art in new and creative ways.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love that the Art Gallery of St. Albert decided to commemorate and promote slow looking despite not being able to host their event as planned. Leah Louden, Interim Director, said that they are already planning their Slow Art Day 2022.
To the staff at the Art Gallery of St. Albert, and all other museums and galleries that had planned events which did not go through — thank you for supporting Slow Art Day and your communities through these trying times.
– Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl
PS. You can find out more about the Art Gallery of St. Albert here, on their IG, or Facebook Page.
We also recommend checking out one of their beautifully designed annual reports
For their 6th Slow Art Day, the Foto Museum (FOMU), in Antwerp, Belgium, organized four virtual slow looking sessions featuring two photographs:
Lynne Cohen, Recording Studio, 1987.
Martine Franck, Quartier de Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, Royaume-Uni, 1977.
Each virtual session opened with a warm welcome from a guide, and introductions from participants.
Without giving any details of the photographs, the guide shared each one and invited participants to look slowly and freely discuss their thoughts.
At the end of the session, all participants were guided through a mindful full-body check to reconnect to their physical surroundings.
The participants enjoyed the slow looking and were eager to share their reflections, both about the pictures and the sessions.
“It’s a nice way to interact with strangers.”
“I was surprised that the time went by so quickly!”
“Nice food for thought with lots of different perspectives.”
At Slow Art Day HQ we are really impressed with FOMU’s commitment to hosting not one – but four – sessions in one day. Bookending each event with an introduction round and a mindful cooling-down activity is a great structure that we hope other museums adopt for a future Slow Art Day.
We look forward to what FOMU comes up with for their 7th Slow Art Day in 2022.
For their second Slow Art Day the MOMus Thessaloniki Museum of Photography hosted two Zoom discussions on the themes of personal and public space and notions of “home”.
The virtual sessions took place on April 4th and 8th, 2020, and focused on slow looking at a selection of photographs from the Museum’s collection, including:
Panos Kokkinias’ ‘Smoke’ from the “Home” Series, 1994-1995.
Yiannis Stylianou, ‘Parade’, 1967.
Images of the photos were shared with participants the day before the event. On the day, after observing the photographs, participants shared opinions and ideas which quickly evolved into a discussion about home and life during the then-current Covid19 lockdown in Greece.
The eagerness of participants to continue the discussion meant that the first Zoom session lasted longer than the planned two hours. Since the event was so popular, a second session was organized for April 8th.
The events generated significant positive feedback with attendees describing it as a great opportunity to keep in touch with the outside world during lockdown. Maria Kokorotskou, MOMus Acting Director, also said that all participants asked the Museum to host in-person slow looking events after the pandemic.
At Slow Art Day HQ we love this event and choice of theme and photographs. We also are very happy to hear that attendees wanted the Museum to host more slow looking events after the lockdown.
In fact, we hope to see MOMus Thessaloniki Museum of Photography host events throughout the year, including Slow Art Day 2021!
For their first Slow Art Day the IAACC Pablo Serrano in Zaragoza, Spain, highlighted four works by female photographers from the Museum’s archive:
Grete Stern, Sueño 39, 1949.
Cristina Martín Lara, “Si yo supiera a qué se debe…/ Wenn ich nur wüsste woran das liegt…(1) II”, 2004.
Mapi Rivera, “Estelación crepuscular”, 2004.
Liang Yuanwei, “S/T, Series: ‘Don’t forget to say you love me’, 2005.
The photos were part of the virtual project “Visiones transversales en torno a Circa XX. A través de mi cuerpo / A través de tu cuerpo” (“Transversal visions circa XX. Through my body / Through your body”) which explores women, their physical bodies, as well as their social and artistic agency.
For example, Stern’s “Sueño 39” denounces obstacles women faced in 1940s Argentina. Yuanwei’s self-portrait series “Don’t forget to say you love me” is a parody of erotic photographs of women which comments on the male gaze and the objectification of women.
On April 4th, 2020, the photos were shared on social media, accompanied by prompts and brief descriptions. Viewers were encouraged to look slowly at each photograph and then to share their reflections online. The Museum also produced a short video of the four works, which can be viewed below.
The photos were liked many times on social media and some participants, and even some artists, posted inspiring reflections. One of the photographers, Cristina Martín Lara, commented on Facebook:
What a joy to be part of this Slow Art Day initiative to show everyone the Cirka XX Collection in our confinement. Thank you for making it possible! (Translated from Spanish)
Cristina Martín Lara
Several participants also posted reflections in connection with individual photographs. For example:
Even in the most idyllic context we can find something that makes us stop suddenly, causing us pain that only time, and not the context, can mitigate. (Translated from Spanish)
Participant response to Grete Stern’s “Sueño 39”, Instagram.
At Slow Art Day HQ we are inspired by the depth of symbolism in these photographs. The works in the Cirka XX project are exciting to consider one-by-one and even more powerful when viewed in relation to each other. We recommend that all Slow Art Day readers look at the photos posted above as well as the video.
We want to also thank María Luisa Grau Tello, curator at IAACC Pablo Serrano, as well as Julio Ramón Sanz, Eva María Alquézar, Alba Rodrigo Urmente, Gloria Sánchez Martín, Silvia Abad Villarroya and Alfredo Blanco Morte for hosting the Museum’s innagural Slow Art Day event.
We look forward to what the IAACC comes up with for Slow Art Day in 2021!