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At the Rubin Museum, our goal is to help visitors have meaningful and transformational experiences with the art in our galleries. That’s why we’re excited to once again participate in Slow Art Day 2016, a worldwide event encouraging the thoughtful exploration of artwork.

In modern life, we are so often conditioned to try to take in everything around us at once, but Slow Art Day encourages people to sit with an individual piece of art for an extended period of time— ten minutes to be exact— allowing for deeper reflection and greater understanding of the work.

Art-Viewing as a Meditative Experience

It’s not easy for most people to sit with one piece of art for more than a few moments. As Rubin Museum docent Jiawen explains, ” As we become gluttons of information and opinions nowadays, slow art encourages us to open our eyes, to simply look rather than to seek excitement and stereotypes, to observe rather than judge.”

If you’ve ever practiced meditation, you know that attempting to break habits and focus the mind isn’t an easy feat; however, like mindfulness, the deep looking encouraged during Slow Art Day is a lifelong skill that will continue to provide rewarding experiences in museums and galleries for years to come.

“To view art slowly is to take the time to be with oneself,” says Jiawen, who will be leading a Slow Art Day Tour at the Museum on Saturday, April 9. “It is to be fully present with the artwork and to initiate a meaningful conversation between one’s own mind and heart and that of the artist.”

Slow Art and Himalayan Culture

Many of the art objects specifically chosen for the Museum’s Slow Art Day tour are traditionally meant to be the focus of Himalayan spiritual practices that explore the nature of mind. Through ritual offerings, mantras (prayers repeated again and again), and visualization meditation techniques, these art objects become more than just aesthetically pleasing— they become a means of transformation.

Go on your own journey of transformation on a special Slow Art Day tour with Jiawen, this Saturday, April 9, at 12:00 P.M. and check out a few of the objects that will be featured on the tour below:

Vajradhara; Tibet; 14th century; Gilt copper alloy; Rubin Museum of Art C2005.16.19 (HAR 65442)
Tara Protecting from the Eight Fears Kham Province, Eastern Tibet; 19th century Pigments on cloth Rubin Museum of Art Gift of Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation F1997.15.1 (HAR 237)
Tara Protecting from the Eight Fears; Kham Province, Eastern Tibet; 19th century; Pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; Gift of Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation F1997.15.1 (HAR 237)
Wheel of Life, 2015;BuchungNubgya(Tibetan, b. 1979);New York, USA; Acrylic paint on canvas; Museum Purchase