Slowing Down for Art

April 10, 2015

On Saturday, April 11, people around the globe will take part in Slow Art Day, an annual event in which participants leisurely spend time with art. Participants are asked to view five works of art for 10 minutes apiece. Afterward, they are encouraged to discuss their experiences with others. The goal of the event “is to focus on the art and the art of seeing,” according to Slow Art Day’s website.

With a core mission of promoting critical looking and thinking via close, sustained looking, the Harvard Art Museums are uniquely suited for Slow Art experiences. If you’re interested in participating in Slow Art Day, we highly recommend reading “The Power of Patience,” a Harvard Magazine essay by Jennifer Roberts, Harvard’s Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities. In the article, Roberts shares her perspective on the importance of engaging in “deceleration, patience, and immersive attention.” She explains how and why she teaches her students that “in any work of art there are details and orders and relationships that take time to perceive.”

Those who want to participate in a more formal way are invited to register with a student-organized Harvard Art Museums’ Slow Art Day group, which will lead visitors in guided contemplation of five works in the museums, starting at 2pm.