Slow Art Day

By April 14, 2018 Art, BEYOND THE STUDIO DOOR
Slow Art Day!

Today is officially Slow Art Day.

If you aren’t familiar with Slow Art Day. It’s a global event that encourages the joy of looking and loving art.

It has official guidelines that museums follow, but there are no rules. It’s just focusing on slow looking. Really spending time with a few works of art and appreciating.

To celebrate Slow Art Day, I’ve picked a few pieces from the art destinations I visited in San Francisco for you to enjoy.

First stop…


THE PLACE: The museum has wonderful open terraces off almost every floor. Some with green walls others with city views. The perfect place to take a break from art overload and grab lunch before diving back in. And, that is just what I did!



THE ART: I spent the most time with this painting “Death in The Sick Room” by Edvard Munch. It was part of a feature show of his haunting paintings. I know, not a very cheerful way to spend a vacation day. Strangely, after looking at this woman’s pale stare for a long time I came away uplifted. She felt brave holding her head up while everyone else in the room turns away from the worst of life.

Death in the Sick Room


THE ART: I sort of stumbled into this gallery filled with 224 poodles arranged in a circle around a baby, in a star. My first reaction was to laugh out loud. I thought it must be some sort of installation using religious symbolism to comment on how dogs protect humans or how dogs might view humans as God. 

I got it so wrong. It turns out “Child with Poodles” by Katharina Fritsch is a reference to a story of Faust unknowingly inviting Mephistopheles disguised as a poodle into his study.

It was a visually striking piece. And…I will never look at poodles the same again.

Child With Poodles


THE ART: Late in the afternoon, I sat admiring the surrealist green beauty in Dorothea Tanning’s Self Portrait.

I think she is thinking sometimes you need to just stand back and take everything in. I often, think the same thing.

Dorothea Tanning

 Grace Cathedral

THE PLACE: I spent a few hours here delighting in the light and enjoying a range of art from traditional to modern. It has all you might expect in a cathedral soaring ceilings, rose window, and Doors of Paradise from Florence Italy. Plus labyrinths inside and out. What I loved about this spot were the many unexpected art pieces that gave such an inclusive view of spiritual matters.

Just an fyi…it’s also the perfect place to sit for a moment if you find yourself experiencing vertigo in the Nob Hill section of San Francisco. Just saying.

Grace Cathedral

 Grace Cathedral

THE ART: This Mary Magadline icon by Robert Lentz was commissioned to commemorate the first Episcopal female bishop. The red color stands out against the stone walls were it hangs just outside the oldest part of the cathedral.

I very enthusiastic guide pointed out to me that it’s said to be inspired by the famous Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic. I loved this notion of reimaging a mysterious woman from history as a mysterious woman from modern times.



Mary Magdalen

 Grace Cathedral

THE ART: I have to admit I had read about this installation of Jacob’s Dream by Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell and couldn’t really imagine how it would look hanging 55 feet tall in a Cathedral.

At first glance, it just looks like Fluorescent light from home depot.

It doesn’t do much. You feel yourself get a little bored. You get quiet. Then figures flickers and tumble up through the light as if to reach the heavens. You feel a sort of ahh…A lightness I can’t really explain but seems very appropriate in a cathedral.

Jacobs Ladder

 Grace Cathedral

THE ART: I don’t like to pick favorites because I’m always changing my mind. But, if I did the “Gift” by Narcissus Quagliata might be my favorite stained glass window.

I almost missed it because I kept misunderstanding the map in the cathedral. Before leaving, I decided to look one more time. Without success, I turned straight around and looked up in frustration. There! Oh so high! Our galaxy swirly in the center of a blue mother-like figure. It made me feel like is some way we are all protected in this mysterious universe. It’s beautiful. This photo isn’t…but it’s the best I could do with my cell phone.

It makes me want to learn how to do stained glass someday and it reminds me of my painting “Womb of Creation”

The gift window

 de Young Museum

THE PLACE: This copper clad museum holds amazing art and stunning views from its tower overlooking Golden Gate Park.

This is a newer space built in 2005 and it gives you a sense of what buildings and museums might be like in the future. Spacious and light filled places with art displayed in fresh ways.

Like Karen LaMonte’s “Dress 3” displayed with Frederic Church’s “Rainy Season in the Tropics.” The light in the rainbow and the light in the caste glass perfectly reflecting each other. I loved it!

Karen LaMonte Dress 3

 de Young Museum

THE ART: Before you take the elevator to the top of the tower you’re treated to a room of full of Ruth Aswawa wire sculptures. I love the shapes and shadows of her pieces.

To me, altogether the organic forms take on an underwater feel. It adds to the experience of then rising 144 feet up the tower for a 360-degree view. San Franciscans love their vertigo!


 de Young Museum

THE ART: I never pass up a chance to sit in front of a George Innes.

This is “Glimpse of the Lake” with its greens and the tiniest bit of light it reminds me of how it’s a beautiful thing to get lost in nature. Go off by yourself and just be slow.

George Inness A Glimpse of the Lake

 de Young Museum

THE ART: I picked this Ancestral Skull made by the Asmat people of New Guinea to end with because it reminds me of where I started with the Edvard Munch painting.

I had so many mixed feelings staring at it in the museum. I was intrigued by the use of feather and seed. Both objects filled with poetry and meaning. Even standing behind the glass it’s impossible to shake the knowledge that this was once a living human being. It’s beauty and macabre all at once.

It reminds me to look while I can, but look slowly. Absorb it all.

Happy Slow Art Day!

Ancestor Skull Asmat People

Don’t forget May 19th and 20th is the Open Studio Tour!


Author Siobhan


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