How much time would you spend with one of the world’s most famous paintings? For most people, it’s about 15 seconds.
That’s how long the average museumgoer looks at a single work of art.
The piece in question? The “Mona Lisa.”
Remove the Louvre’s cachet, Da Vinci’s bona fides and that killer smile, and lesser-known paintings fare worse.
As people blitz through museums to take in the most art in the least amount of time, spending more time reading description cards than gazing at brushstrokes, art lovers worry whether something essential is being lost.
Enter Slow Art Day, which is Saturday.
The international, annual event asks museumgoers to slow down, spend time with a limited number of artworks, and take it all in.
Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Visit a museum or gallery.
Step 2: Look at no more than five pieces of art. (One or two might be enough.) And look at them slowly.
Step 3. Discuss.
Focusing on “slow looking,” Slow Art Day organizers says, unlocks art’s “transformative power.”
Seven-hundred venues are participating this year, including Minneapolis’ Weisman Art Museum. The gallery will offer a Slow Art Day tour and discussion Saturday at 1 p.m. There also will be cards that instruct visitors how to experience art more slowly.
“Perceive,” the card says in large block letters. “Before you read anything about the image, use your powers of observation to look slowly and closely.” Think about the image, the mood, memories, meanings and questions the painting evokes.
Weisman spokeswoman Erin Lauderman says visitors often spend only brief blips of time with the art — unless they’re taking a selfie with a piece (which is allowed at the Weisman).
Julian Stanczak’s “Forming in Four Reds” is the museum’s most Instagrammed work. Finding the right frame for duck lips in front of an artist’s creation: Even that is Slow Art, Lauderman said.
“We want art to be relatable, and we want people to have empathy, and one way to do that is to have them thinking about what the artist was thinking, or getting meaning behind the artwork,” she said. “Something as simple as taking a selfie can do that.”