Mindful Slow-Looking with The Fotomuseum

For their 5th Slow Art Day, The Fotomuseum in Antwerp, Belgium, provided a virtual slow-looking mindfulness exercise (in Dutch) for people at home during the Covid19 pandemic.

Title picture of the instructions for the event Slow Art Day at Home organised by the Fotomuseum, Antwerp.

Participants were encouraged to choose an image, drawing or photo to look at for 5-10 minutes and find a comfortable seated position. The Fotomuseum outlined 5 stages for its meditative slow-looking activity:

1) Relax

“Close your eyes. Pay attention to your breath, and put one hand on your stomach to feel it. If your mind wanders, return to your breath. Breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 6. Repeat this 5 times.”

2) Look at your artwork

“Open your eyes and look at the artwork with the same alertness you had for your breath. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you notice?
  • What colors, composition, shapes and materials do you see?
  • Does the artwork remind you of events from your own life?
  • Would anyone else notice the same things as you?

If your mind wanders, try to return to the image.”

3) Breathe

“Close your eyes a second time, and return focus to your breathing. Take a few deep breaths so you feel the air flow deeply into your lungs, and then breathe as normal again. Pay attention to any thoughts about the artwork, but try to not lose yourself in them. Return to your breathing again.”

4) Look a second time

“Open your eyes and look at the artwork for the second time.

  • What stands out to you now?
  • Do you notice anything new?
  • Does the artwork take on a new meaning for you?”

5) Reflect

“Take a moment to reflect on the exercise.

  • Did you notice yourself thinking or looking in a different way?
  • Do you have a new or different connection with the artwork?”

The original in-person event planned by the museum attracted interest from over 150 prospective attendees, and the online instructions were shared to Facebook with 50+ interactions.

At Slow Art Day HQ we have loved using these thoughtful instructions for our own slow-looking. Try them out at home for yourself!

We look forward to The Fotomuseum’s 6th Slow Art Day in 2021 ― hopefully in their actual museum.

– Johanna

Note: The above instructions were translated from the original Dutch.

PS – You may want to take a look at the webinar they did for Slow Art Day last year.

Jigsaws and Meditative Drawing with the Georgia Museum of Art

For their 5th Slow Art Day, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia, combined two meditative art techniques by artist Anna Bogatin Ott: Slow Looking and Slow Drawing.

Slow Looking

For the slow looking activity, participants were invited to look closely at the painting Aurora by Anna Bogatin Ott, and were guided by prompts via a PDF file, such as:

  • “How do the repetitive marks guide your gaze around the painting?”
  • “Imagine the painting so far away it becomes a speck, then zoom in so close that it’s touching your nose.”
Anna Bogatin Ott (American, b. Ukraine 1970), Aurora (River Wanderings 7714), 2014 – 15. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches (122 x 122 centimeters). Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia; Gift of the artist, GMOA 2017.34.

Since Ott’s art is inspired by nature, participants were also encouraged to reflect on similarities between the colors of the painting and nature.

“I engage all my senses, dissolve into surrounding sounds, become immersed in the nature’s logic of being, and then, from memory, I recreate my experiences in drawings and paintings.”

Anna Bogatin Ott

Slow Drawing

For the slow drawing part of the event, participants were encouraged to draw horizontal lines while trying to stay in touch with their physical sensations focusing attention on the sound of their breath, the feel of the texture of the paper, and the visual effect of negative and positive space between the lines. The activity became a mindful way of remaining present through a multi-sensory art experience.

Slow Drawing Instructions (PDF) for Slow Art Day, 2020, by The Georgia Museum of Art.

Pre-event Virtual Jigsaw Puzzle

Leading up to the main event, the museum shared a virtual interactive jigsaw puzzle of their featured painting to their Facebook page. Several participants completed the jigsaw, and the post reached 647 readers.

Virtual jigsaw of Anna Bogatin Ott’s Aurora, available: www.jigsawplanet.com. Courtsey of The Georgia Museum of Art. Screenshot by Johanna.

Without being formally promoted, their event was a social media success with over 2000 Instagram impressions and 185 Facebook interactions.

The Slow Art Day HQ team has loved participating in these mindful activities. They made us feel centered and at peace, which is a big part of what Slow Art Day is all about.

We look forward to seeing more of The Georgia Museum of Art’s immersive events – hopefully for Slow Art Day 2021.

-Johanna and Ashley

Museo Pedagógico de Aragón Hosts First Slow Art Day

For The Museo Pedagógico de Aragón first Slow Art Day, the Huesca, Spain-based museum designed a compelling and important virtual event.

Participants were invited to slowly view a photograph from the museum’s archive, and given prompts for reflection. Responses were then emailed to Sara Lugo, Curator at Museo Pedagógico de Aragón, for collation.

The 1959 photo, titled ‘Sewing Afternoon’ (or ‘Afternoon of Work’), depicts the female teacher Rosa Mairal and students from a small town in northern Spain during General Franco’s dictatorship.

‘Afternoon of work, Rosa Mairal and her students, Girls School, Borau (Huesca)’, 1959.
Archive of the Pedagogical Museum of Aragon.

The image sparked discussion around a range of topics, including the working conditions of female teachers, the types of subjects taught to girls, and the current role of women in education.

Participants concluded that the education of women has greatly improved since 1959, but many changes still need to be made, especially in working conditions for women all over the world.

The museum’s virtual event received 84 views of the event listing, and over 1000 Twitter interactions and Facebook views. 

Sara Lugo, Curator at Museo Pedagógico de Aragón, said she really liked Slow Art Day and hopes to continue in the future when we can return to the physical museums and galleries.

At Slow Art Day HQ we are delighted that Museo Pedagógico de Aragón has begun their Slow Art Day journey with such a wonderful event and very much look forward to their continued participation.

– Johanna

Instagram “Slow Reveal” Hosted by McMaster

Because of Covid-19, the McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, hosted their seventh Slow Art Day as a virtual “slow reveal” event via their Instagram account @macmuseum.

Over a 90 minute period, nine detailed image fragments of Franklin Carmichael’s Spring Snow were published in 10-minute intervals on the museum’s Instagram feed, with the full artwork being revealed at the end.

Participants were invited to reflect on each of the detailed images as they were posted, and a discussion was facilitated in the caption to each post, and in the McMaster Instagram stories.

Franklin H. Carmichael (Canadian, 1890-1945), Spring Snow, c.1930, oil on plywood.  Gift of Mr. Roy G. Cole. McMaster Museum of Art collection.

The Instagram stories for the McMaster Slow Art Day event had almost 200 views, and the posts themselves were seen by 350 people. A recap of the event is available for anyone who would like to recreate it at home.

When we started Slow Art Day 10 years ago, we were adamant that all the sessions be *offline* in the museums. We Internet veterans were happy to use the Internet to promote and support Slow Art Day but we wanted to use the web in the service of sending more people into real spaces. This year, however, we had no choice and are delighted to see the creative ways museums like the McMaster hosted virtual events for our 10th anniversary Slow Art Day.

We look forward – we hope – to the eighth McMaster Museum of Art’s Slow Art Day in their actual museum in 2021.

– Johanna

Drinks & Art for ArtemisSF’s 2nd Slow Art Day

ArtemisSF in San Francisco, California hosted its second Slow Art Day as a virtual event with a focus on the sense of taste (with some drinks to add a little zest).

Their event Ekphrastic Edibles, designed by Ammala Lacroix, re-interpreted two artworks by Maritza Ruiz-Kim as drinks that participants could make at home:

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”.

Maritza Ruiz-Kim, Progress #15, 6” x 6”, acrylic on panel, 2017, courtesy of the artist.

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”.

‘Misterios con Matcha’ (Matcha Lemonade), Response to Maritza Ruiz-Kim’s Progress #15, ArtemisSF, Photo: Ammala Lacroix

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.”

Maritza Ruiz-Kim, Warmer, 14” x 16”, Digital C-print, 2019, courtesy the artist.

The ‘Jamaica Haven’ drink connects to the artwork Warmer through its colors and inclusion of traditional Mexican ingredients like hibiscus.

‘Jamaica Haven’ (Hibiscus Ginger Mocktail), Response to Maritza Ruiz-Kim’s Warmer, ArtemisSF, Photo: Ammala Lacroix

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.

-Johanna

Slow Art Day Belgium & Mindfulness Webinar

Join us for our first webinar of the 2018-2019 season when the leaders of Slow Art Day Belgium takes us through their innovative mindfulness program.

Wed, Sept 12

– 11:00am NYC time
– 08:00am California time
– 16:00 London time
– 17:00 Paris time

Register here to join us:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/980687799284256001

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More details
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Belgium has long had a very active Slow Art Day community – one of the most active in the world.

In this webinar, we’ll hear from FARO – the Flemish Interface for Cultural Heritage – and their partner, the Photo Museum in Antwerp.

They have prepared a short 3 minute film and a set of slides to walk us through what they have learned about producing effective Slow Art Day events.

Should be a great presentation and conversation.

– Phil Terry
Founder, Slow Art Day

Rubin Museum’s Tips for Slow Looking

The Rubin Museum in New York has been a longtime leader in the Slow Art Day movement.

In 2016, they published a terrific article with tips on slow looking. You can read the article here:
SLOW ART DAY: MAKE YOUR NEXT MUSEUM VISIT MORE MINDFUL

The Rubin understands how hard it is for most people to slow down. “It’s not easy for most people to sit with one piece of art for more than a few moments.”

They emphasize that this activity, if practiced continuously, will bring great joy for decades. “…the deep looking encouraged during Slow Art Day is a lifelong skill that will continue to provide rewarding experiences in museums and galleries for years to come.”

We couldn’t agree more.

We think this simple concept is important – especially in this age of multi-tasking where the emphasis is placed on speed. We started Slow Art Day in 2009 to provoke a new way of seeing in the midst of the blindness that this screen-based world is creating.

The Rubin Museum is hosting Slow Art Day again this year – if you’re in the New York area, we hope you’ll join them!

 

Slow Art Day makes you happy

We hope you’re as excited for Slow Art Day 2018 (just three months away!) as we are! One of this year’s hosts, Karolina Fabelova of Kunstzeichnen in Germany, certainly is – check out the great video she made all about Slow Art Day!

Slow Art Day podcast with special guest Christian Adame

Listen to the Slow Art Day live podcast recorded Tuesday, September 12, 2017 with Slow Art Day hosts around the world and our special guest Christian Adame, longtime Slow Art Day host and Assistant Education Director at the Phoenix Art Museum. Christian designed and piloted the Slow Art & Mindfulness Summer Series at the Phoenix Art Museum this summer.
He talked us about this pilot program and what they learned and answered questions from listeners.

You can download the podcast or listen to it below.

Inaugural podcast with Prof. Arden Reed

Listen to the inaugural Slow Art Day live podcast recorded Tuesday, June 13, 2017 with Slow Art Day hosts around the world and our special guest Professor Arden Reed discussing his forthcoming book, Slow Art: The Experience of Looking, Sacred Images to James Turrell.
You can download the podcast or listen to it below.

View Dr. Reed’s slides simultaneously while listening to the podcast by downloading his powerpoint here.

About Professor Reed
Professor Arden Reed is the Arthur and Fanny Dole Professor of English at Pomona College. Recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Clark Art Institute, he writes on the visual arts and literature, including Manet, Flaubert and the Emergence of Modernism and the prize-winning Romantic Weather: the Climates of Coleridge and Baudelaire.

He was one of Jacques Derrida’s first American graduate students. Trained in comparative literature, Reed authored a prize-winning study of Coleridge and Baudelaire (mentioned above). His career as a scholar of literature was interrupted in 1984, when he experienced a conversion. An encounter with Max Beckmann’s triptych The Actors at the Fogg Museum pivoted Reed’s field of study to the visual arts. His Manet book mentioned above has been translated into French and Spanish.

His forthcoming book 
Professor Reed’s latest book Slow Art: The Experience of Looking, Sacred Images to James Turrell (University of California Press, to be published late June 2017) is about attending to visual images in a culture of distraction, specifically extending the six to 10 seconds that Americans, on average, spend looking at individual works on museums walls and why that matters.

The research and writing of his latest book was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, and residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center at Bellagio, the Clark Art Institute, and the American Academy in Rome. Reed has given presentations on slow art, among other venues, at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, King’s College Cambridge University, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the École normale supérieure in Paris.

Buy and read his book
Professor Reed’s newest book is a foundational book for the slow art movement and we highly recommend that all Slow Art Day hosts read it.

Listeners to the podcast can receive a 30% discount to the book if they order from the University of California press. To get the discount, order online via www.ucpress.edu. Just enter code 16V6526 at checkout.