What's the Rush? It's Slow Art Day in San Francisco!

Jenna Polito | April 26, 2013 | Story

What started as a personal experiment – founder Phil Terry, studying Hans Hofmann’s Fantasia and Jackson Pollock’s Convergence at the Jewish Museum in NYC for hours on end – has become a worldwide movement. In essence, the challenge that Slow Art Day (Saturday, April 27) presents to its participants seems simple: study a work of art for at least 10 minutes, and then discuss the experience in a group. But those of us who buzzed through the entirety of the de Young Museum’s Girl with a Pearl Earring exhibition in under 15 minutes (no finger pointing here) understand that it’s harder than it sounds.

Since its official launch in 2010, Slow Art Day has spread to over 270 museums and galleries around the world, many of them in the Bay Area. Though each venue hosts the event differently, here’s a sneak peak of what to expect from three local museums:

Ponder power plant photography with the San Jose Museum of Art

Artist and museum docent Alayne Yellum believes that the goals of Slow Art Day dovetail with the San Jose Museum of Art’s mission to actively engage visitors. “[Slow Art Day] really fits in with our museum’s philosophy of spending quality time with art,” she says. Throughout her tour of three galleries, Yellum will use interactive touring techniques including object-oriented touring, which asks participants to consider the artwork, its cultural context, and their own initial reaction before passing judgment on a piece. Among the lineup, which includes work from Eric Fischl, Hans Sieverding, and Tian Taiquan, is a film still by Chinese photographer Chen Qiulin called Ellises, which depicts an artistic performance in front of a power plant in China. “People really come away with an understanding of the piece, she says, “getting messages and symbolism out of it that they would never get with a quick look.”


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