April 12, 2010
Years ago, I learned that visiting art museums would not be an experience I could share (enjoyably) with one of my younger brothers.
To put it simply, he has the attention span of a goldfish. Even today, at age 21, he can fly through an entire floor of artwork in 10 minutes and be back to ask if its time to go get something to eat, before I’ve even finished looking at the first gallery of paintings.
But it turns out my brother isn’t the only one racing through galleries. The average person takes, on average, less than eight seconds to examine a work of art.
In an effort to get people to slow down and take a real, long look at art, museums around the world are teaming up for Slow Art Day 2010, which aims to help museum-goers to breakout of their speedy habits.
At the Smithsonian American Art Museum, join in on the fun from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 17. With a list of suggested viewing pieces, visitors are encouraged to take five to 10 minutes looking at each artwork. Afterward, they’ll meet at 1:15 p.m. in the Luce Foundation Center for a discussion about what they saw.
The event is free, but visitors should register at this site ahead of time.
Who knows—maybe you’ll find that by slowing down, your experience will be more enjoyable.
(And yes, I’ve passed the link along to my brother.)
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.