Slow Art Day

4th April 2020

Slow Art Day is a global event with the mission to help more people discover the joy of looking at and loving art. As we are temporarily closed and this planned event cannot go ahead, we have decided to host this event online for you to do in your own home. 

A visit to a museum or art gallery can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. With so many works on display, trying to see everything can feel almost like a chore. Studies have found that visitors to art galleries spend an average of 8 seconds looking at an artwork. 

‘Slow looking’ is where we take the time to really observe an artwork. It is based on the idea that, if we really want to get to know a work of art, we need to spend time with it. Slow looking is not about museum professionals or artists telling you how to look at art. Rather, it is about you and the artwork, making your own discoveries and forming a more personal connection with art.

Some tips before you start: 

  1. Make yourself comfortable: You should spend around 10 minutes on each artwork so make sure you’re in a comfortable position and space.
  2. Don’t worry if nothing comes to mind at first: Try focusing your attention on a particular detail. Try to forget any expectations, as well as anything you ‘know’ about the artwork. Keep an open mind. If you are struggling, consider texture, colour and shape as a starting point. 
  3. Let your mind wander: You will try and form conclusions about the artwork. This may be intentional by the artist, or may be unique to you. You will have a fresh perspective.
  4. How do you feel? Notice how your mind reacts to the artwork, even if it’s subtle. Is the art calming, irritating, exciting? Does it provoke any memories? 

Observe the three following artworks and aim to spend 10 minutes looking at each one. When slow looking, observe these 3 questions: 

  • What is happening in the artwork? 
  • How does the artwork make you feel? (like/dislike)
  • Does this artwork remind you of anything- any personal connections or experiences? 
Cook, Beryl; Hen Party II; Glasgow Museums
Eduardo Paolozzi, Mein Kolner Dom: Blueprint for a New Museum, 1982, Glasgow Museums

Once finished, consider the following: 

  • Was there anything that you didn’t immediately notice?
  • Do you feel any different from when you first began? 

Thank you for participating in our Slow Art Day 2020. When we are back open, please feel free to visit us and practice slow looking with our collections. 

Further readings:

Leave a Reply