On Saturday, the museum took part in Slow Art Day—an international event that happens at art venues around the world—for the first time. Forty people signed up for two sessions, one at 10am and one at 2pm. At the entrance of the museum docents greeted them with a map pinpointing five artworks the Education Department selected. Participants were instructed to spend 10 minutes with each work, then to meet in the Palm Courtyard to discuss their experience over a glass of iced tea.
Judy and Bill Barnes of Easton, Maryland, were in the 2pm group. Their son lives on O‘ahu and they’re on their third visit to the island. It was their first visit to the museum. They took their time with van Gogh’s Wheat Field, the Guanyin, Hubert Vos’s Study of Hawaiian Fishes, and Robert Rauschenberg’s Trophy V (for Jasper Johns). When everyone convened to talk about the art, Bill Barnes, who is a scientist, said the museum should do more Slow Art events. “I realized there are so many types of art, and so many cultures—the whole concept of looking at artwork slowly makes me think,” he said. “This process you’ve done today should be repeated.”
Docents Marcia Morse, Allyn Bromley, and Debbie Gray led the discussion, engaging participants with insight into ways of looking at art as well as research on the five artworks. MK Carroll, part of the yarnbombing group TheFuzz, was part of the group ans says she knows the museum so well there are artworks she has “stopped looking at.” But Slow Art Day, “forced me to stop and take another look and see what I’ve forgotten.”