Americans, on average, spend between six and ten seconds looking at individual artworks in museums or galleries. In our culture of distraction, how might we sustain attention to those artworks—and to what effect? Slow Art dwells upon various media—photography, painting, sculpture, “living pictures,” film, video, digital and performance art—and even light, time, and space, from both the present and past. Taken together, these works shape a new and distinct aesthetic field. Looking carefully at figures including Diderot, Emma Hamilton, Oscar Wilde, Jeff Wall, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Andy Warhol, and Richard Serra, Arden Reed sketches a history of looking that establishes the origins of slow art, changes over time, and kinships among its expressions. Slow Art models ways to extend and enrich acts of looking.
Arden Reed is Arthur and Fanny Dole Professor of English at Pomona College. He writes on the visual arts and literature, and his publications include Manet, Flaubert, and the Emergence of Modernism and Romantic Weather: The Climates of Coleridge and Baudelaire.