How much time do you spend looking at a painting? Or a sculpture? Hours, minutes, or seconds? Not event that? A study made in 2001 by Jeffrey and Lisa Smith at the Metropolitan Museum of Art discovered that the average time spent on a piece is 17 seconds. Another study, done by the Louvre museum unveiled that the Mona Lisa painting, as famous as it is, doesn’t really hold visitors attention as much as one might think. The average viewing time for the most famous painting in the world is a mere 15 seconds.
As it happens, when things go a little too fast, a movement is created to slow it down. Slow Art Day was created back in 2009. Founder Phil Terry spent half an hour starring at “Fantasia” by Hans Hoffman at the Jewish Museum 2008 exhibition “Action/Abstraction”. He wasn’t really a big fan of art, but in that moment he understood the power of it.
“People usually go to a museum, see as much as they can, get exhausted, and don’t return,” Terry told ARTnews. “Slow Art Day energizes people.”
In experiencing the power of that moment, he came up with the Slow Art Day movement. In the first year, 2009, there was only a single venue: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and only four participants. But the concept of really appreciating and looking into a work of art got big, and in the second year it expanded to 55 venues. This year over one hundred venues participated, with hosts selecting the works of art to be viewed and leading the trip to galleries and museums all over the world, from Ohio to Poland.
The movement is so to “slow down and really see art” by spending 10 minutes meditating on each work rather than “breezing past artworks in the standard eight seconds.”