Slow Art Looking

In the digital era, where the modern media and it’s rhythms of communication are bombarding us and screaming for attention the new trend in art is to set the intention to “attention” and “SLOW ART” looking.

We felt inspired by the curator of Tate Modern, Matthew Gale and popped into the museum to slow look at Pierre Bonnard paintings.

Neurological studies demonstrate that our memory and attention span last about 30 seconds, the latest survey shows that during a gallery or a museum visit average visitor dedicates 27 seconds in front of a given art work, what if you were now told to spend 30 min in front of a painting to truly catch the finer details of it?

The Tate Modern is planning “slow looking” events to help people see the pictures properly by discussing the artist’s imagery, structure and techniques.

The experience consists of three stages: the first, the general impression of tone and colour, then there is bringing knowledge of the artist to bear on a picture. That engagement keeps the attention fixed on the work. Finally, the picture takes effect, and you may find it changes how you see the world.

We tried it ourselves and it truly brought us into this conclusion:

Slow Art looking should not be the enemy of a “blink”, fast looking and thin slicing, quick way of appreciating art.
They work in tandem, that what yields the greatest enrichment in enjoyment are different speeds of looking.

After all like Simone Veil used to say: “Attention is the pure and sincerest form of generosity”.

Tate Modern Photo Credit Richard Newstead/Getty Images
 Studio with mimosa 1939-46, Musée National d’art Moderne - Centre Pompidou, Paris