Just wait a minute and take a long, hard look at your art

Lifestyle

Just wait a minute and take a long, hard look at your art

Gazing carefully at a work of art has fallen so far out of vogue that Tate Modern in London is taking action

Hannah Furness


There was a time in the history of art that it would have been a given: when visiting a gallery, it is wise to spend some time looking at the paintings.
But as access to art has widened just as attention spans have shrunk, the habit of gazing carefully at a work of art has fallen so far out of vogue that Tate Modern in London is taking action.
The Tate has joined galleries across the world in celebrating “Slow Art Day”, producing a guide on “slow looking” to encourage visitors to spend 10 minutes enjoying their favourite works of art.
Citing studies that have found visitors spend an average of eight seconds looking at each work on display at a gallery, curators have put on a special free event to help guests reconnect.
Following in the footsteps of “slow television” and “slow radio”, it has called the new phenomenon “slow looking” to encourage visitors to “really look in detail at an artwork”.
In an online guide to how it is done, Tate says: “The important thing is that you select a work that you are drawn to, that intrigues, attracts or frustrates you.
“Devote your time to truly getting to know a few artworks. Try to think of the gallery as a menu, rather than a to-do list.
“We recommend 10 minutes, but you could try five minutes, half an hour, or even longer. You will be surprised by what you will get out of even two minutes spent slow looking.
“To keep track of time, set a quiet timer on your phone or try simply counting a number of breaths.”
– © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)

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