Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Looking at modern art, for 2 seconds

During a series of observations I made at the Museum of Modern Art, the average viewer spent no more than two seconds looking at a work of art before moving on.  The longest sustained viewing was less than 60 seconds.  (This doesn't include the handful of sketchers who were doing deep, intense observation.)

Can you "see" a painting in two seconds?

An alternate approach: Try picking one piece of art and just look at it for ten minutes.  Avoid thinking.  Practice pure observation.  Notice details, withholding judgment or the attempt to assign meaning.  Allow the texture of the sustained visual experience to become embedded in memory.

Looking at modern art, for 2 seconds from Will Bachman on Vimeo.

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