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Old 01-09-2018, 08:50 AM
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laf.art laf.art is offline
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Slow looking

I've just read this and thought it might interest others. I'd read somewhere that most people will spend only 60 seconds or so looking at an artwork in a museum - this appears to be an enjoyable antidote to that
:https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-...tm_content=st-
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Last edited by laf.art : 01-09-2018 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:07 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Slow looking

While reading that article, my first thoughts were that there is no way I could sit silently in front of ANY painting for an hour, but then I realized that I already do that - while I am painting. Granted that isn't the same as looking at someone else's finished painting, but I think I will give it a try sometime, though I am afraid that I might only make it to 15 minutes!

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Old 01-09-2018, 12:29 PM
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robertsloan2 robertsloan2 is offline
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Re: Slow looking

Interesting article.

My first thought was "No way. I could not stand up for that long, my legs wouldn't do it." Then I remembered my power chair and envisioned participating with that... and the next thing that came to mind was that I'd do it without hesitation if I brought a sketchbook to copy a master.

Last thought was, and I do that all the time when I have bought an art work that I love. It's not concentrated into a single hour but spending that much time with Orangerie by Colorix was a joy. It's in storage now but I spent a lot of time just staring at it. That's awkward at a museum and much easier at home, though most of us couldn't afford a Rembrandt or Vermeer to get into.

I don't think I could stand it without going insane if I wound up in front of something I didn't like. Or that participating in a group project would improve the experience. Though that would solve one thing - you wouldn't get pestered by suspicious security guards wondering if the group is planning a heist of that painting.

Museums aren't set up for that. I tend to slow down and sit down in them anyway, because my body won't let me stand that long in one place. Or sit on a hard bench very long, which makes the process a painful, grueling one or did till I got my power chair. I remember getting approached many times at the Art Institute of Chicago for spending too long in one area or with one work because I'd get really interested in it and not just move on after a glance. Not an hour usually, but five or ten minutes is enough for them to get nervous.
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:11 PM
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Re: Slow looking

A novel takes a while to read, a poem is quick. You can meditate on a poem…

Abstraction is like poetry.
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Last edited by JohnEmmett : 01-09-2018 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:33 AM
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Re: Slow looking

Interesting. Given the opportunity, I think I could probably spend that amount of time looking at Monet paintings.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:56 AM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: Slow looking

Quote:
Originally Posted by laf.art
I'd read somewhere that most people will spend only 60 seconds or so looking at an artwork in a museum

I'm not "most people", I'm an artist. I will spend as long or as little time in front of a work as I care to. Paintings that get more time, generally have some content or technique that I'm interested in. Paintings that don't, well, I don't feel the slightest guilt about "flying by" an inferior work. And the surest way to tell that I can't stand a work, if someone actually knows me, is that I don't talk to anyone and I don't stay. I'm trying to avoid opening my mouth as it will only be negative if I do so. I don't like the company of people who can't tell that something is junk either. I hope people are as bored with the work as I am... but I escape, so that I don't have to find out, or crush someone's dreams.

If I'm actually looking at a work for longer than a few moments, then yes, you can automatically infer that I think there is some kind of merit in it somewhere.

The group meditation exercise described in the article is nice and all that, but it's its own thing and not important to viewing Art. Claimed expertise, authority, and guilt over how one is "supposed to" interact with a work, should never be the metric of the personal experience of Art. How about I'm just faster and more intuitive about absorbing things about a work than a lot of people, because I'm not afraid of the work in front of me, and not second guessing my experience and judgment of it? Who is to say how fast our brains can actually work on something, if we allow our brains to do so?

A lot of people, yep, they're too busy. They need to get out of their Life Checklists and actually experience the work in front of them. The 1 hour meditative session is a way to do that - complete overkill, IMO, but a way. Whereas, I don't have a problem with my attention span when I've entered a gallery. I came there deliberately. I went out of my way to do it. It's got my undivided attention, to a fault!

Know what I really have problems with in a gallery? Socializing, or talking to women. Even though theoretically a gallery should be of benefit to me in the latter regard, in practice it almost never has been. I'm very determined to get through all of the work, because I know I've only got X amount of time during an Artwalk. I don't really want the work to be cheated, so in practice, external distractions often go by the wayside. I wish people would budget about twice as much time for these evening events, as that's the amount of time I'd need to both look at the Art (if it's any good) and do the social interactions. I suppose I'm just dragged down by that least common denominator of how long "the crowd" wants to spend on actual Art, before they get on with the "more fun" act of posturing, being seen, chatting, etc.

So, my rejoinder to the 1 hour meditation method. Courtesy of Bruce Lee. Wanna view paintings longer? View paintings longer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie Black
Interesting. Given the opportunity, I think I could probably spend that amount of time looking at Monet paintings.


Definitely in Musée de l'Orangerie. This reminds me that another way to increase one's viewing time, is to spend a substantial admission fee. Usually it's going to make you try to get your money's worth, somewhere in the museum!

Last edited by bvanevery : 01-10-2018 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:01 PM
AllisonR AllisonR is offline
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Re: Slow looking

I'd love to start up something like that here. I doubt there would be many interested in even trying it though. I have for sure spent an hour or more in front of certain paintings. I was 7 weeks in Florence and felt rushed, I could spend 7 years there and not be done, and if I had that opportunity for sure there are many a painting, and sculpture that I could spend an hour or more on. We are all artists, spending hours in front of our canvases, why not look at others art for that long?
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:10 PM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: Slow looking

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR
I doubt there would be many interested in even trying it though.

Why is "many" a goal? My experience, trying to get small groups of people to do things, is to concentrate on sustainable practices. Things that people are willing to show up for, that they will keep doing over time.

I used to run a drawing group in Seattle for a time. My sales pitch was, even if you only come to draw for 20 minutes, that is more time than you would have othewise spent. My target audience was people who, like myself, allow themselves to be distracted by the rest of Life and use it as an excuse not to draw. In fairness, I did have difficulty sustaining that group. But it was mainly because of social chemistry and lack thereof, not the fundamental idea of "20 minutes".

Anyways, I would suggest 10 minutes committed contemplation in front of 2 or 3 paintings, as a group exercise. With expected discussion after each contemplation. Total time commitment for the excursion is about 1 hour, which doesn't seem like quite such a crazy use of time as spending 1 hour to stare at 1 painting. If you ever get your group sustained enough, you could ask them whether they're interested in longer exercises. But I'm going to make a wild guess that the people who stick with it, are going to be more interested in the talking, than the staring.

Quote:
We are all artists, spending hours in front of our canvases, why not look at others art for that long?

Because we are making decisions about how to apply paint, and they have already made all of those decisions. It's not miraculous that it takes months of production to make a Hollywood film, and only 90..120 minutes to view it.

Last edited by bvanevery : 01-10-2018 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:03 PM
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Re: Slow looking

Monet paintings in The Water Lillies Room in Musée de l'Orangerie.

I would love to visit one day.

.
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:28 AM
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Re: Slow looking

I probably give most paintings 30 seconds or less, but only because time is limited in any museum, and when I find a painting I really like I will slow down and spend time on it. But to be able to do that it means some paintings will get short shrift.

Occasionally I have spent up to about 45 minutes on a single painting, like Picasso's Guernica.

I like going to smaller museums where it is actually possible to get time to wander the entire collection and spend some time with its treasures. Time and great art together are a real luxury.

But overall there is so much to see, that it is impossible to spend the time one wants with every piece in a collection. Is it that people are philistines? Or just tired and footsore and overwhelmed and after a while one Madonna does start to resemble another. 60 seconds? 10 seconds? A passing glance? Where is the cafeteria I need to sit down and process all of this.
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Last edited by ColinS : 01-11-2018 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:05 AM
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maryinasia maryinasia is offline
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Re: Slow looking

Quote:
Monet paintings in The Water Lillies Room in Musée de l'Orangerie.

When my sisters and I went to Paris, this was one of our favorite memories. It was made for sitting and enjoying for a long time.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:59 PM
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Re: Slow looking

I remember when I first went to notable museums, the fear of missing something incredible made me move at breakneck speed from one gallery to another, and often a few days after the visit I'd be hard pressed to say what it was that I'd actually seen - just fleeting impressions and the catalogue to prove that I'd been there.
I have tried to cultivate the habit of stillness- which doesn't come naturally but because of that I can spend quite a while in front of a piece without becoming agitated and eager to move on.
I can well imagine sitting and looking at The Water Lilies for days now.
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:03 PM
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Re: Slow looking

I stand in front of paintings that relate to what I like in galleries for a long time. Usually as close as I can get to note brush strokes, colours, shadows, highlights. Everything really, I figure it's one of the best ways of reducing the learning curve. I usually take photos and try to reproduce anything I find interesting, later.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:54 PM
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Re: Slow looking

Quote:
Originally Posted by maryinasia
When my sisters and I went to Paris, this was one of our favorite memories. It was made for sitting and enjoying for a long time.

I think I would love it too. I decided today that I'm going to visit as soon as I am able to
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:58 PM
Colorado_Ed Colorado_Ed is offline
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Re: Slow looking

First of all, I'd need a chair. Benches are never where I want them in museums and I'd probably get in trouble for dragging one over.

The other problem is, well, everyone else. If I had the ability to sit in front of a painting undisturbed for an hour, I'd totally do it. I might like to sneak a thermos of coffee in too

That being said, the closest I came to it was spending a lot of time alone at the Met in their visible storage area - they had some amazing Sargent sketches there and I just sat on the floor gawking at them.
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