According to numerous sources, including Blake Milteer, museum director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the average person spends about three to 10 seconds with a piece of art. Some estimates go up to 15 seconds, but nothing exceeds a minute.
But there's a lot the average person is missing. A work of art doesn't unfold immediately; details take time and patience to notice.
Which is why art lovers are asking the world to slow down this Saturday as part of the aptly named Slow Art Day, first conceived by Phil Terry, founder of Reading Odyssey and CEO of Creative Good, in 2008. The point of Slow Art Day is to up that three seconds to 10 whole minutes.
Yeah, 10 minutes is a lot of time in front of a piece of art (even for me). But that's the idea. We all need to take our time. So what are we getting out of this kind of commitment? According to the Slow Art Day's website, intrinsic value, which sounds lame. But this notion they outline is powerful:
When people look slowly at a piece of art they make discoveries.
The most important discovery they make is that they can see and experience art without an expert (or expertise).
Still want a little more guidance? Milteer, with assistant curator Joy Armstrong and new media manager Nicole Anthony will lead a tour of the FAC current exhibit A Family Affair in which they'll view and discuss five pieces of art for five to 10 minutes each. Following that, the group will have lunch at Café 36 (if you needed any more incentive).
RSVPs are requested, and you can sign up here. Should you be reading this from some far-flung locale, there may be a Slow Art Day museum in your midst — 265 institutions are currently participating worldwide.