Wednesday, November 10, 2010

James Elkins: A Gaze, a Glance, an Epiphany

Dieric Bouts
Weeping Madonna (detail)
15 1/4" x 11 7/8" c. 1480-1500
The Art Institute of Chicago

James Elkins is now writing for the Huffington Post on art, especially the process of looking at art. His latest post entitled "How Long Does it Take To Look at a Painting?" is a must read. We are bombarded by visual images each day to the point where we are numb to their effect. How can we regain the ability to interact with great paintings and sculptures? James Elkins suggests that a simple solution is at hand: slow down, stop and gaze into a work of art. Don't have the time? Wander over to the nearest gallery or museum on your lunch hour.

James Elkins writes beautifully about Dieric Bouts Weeping Madonna from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The video artist Bill Viola was also moved by the Dieric Bouts painting when his father was dying:

"For the first time in my life I realised I was using a piece of art rather than just appreciating it. Maybe it should have been in a church - where people share silent communion - but it happened in an art gallery. That is not what I was taught in art school"

Read the entire piece and join the dialogue at:
James Elkins on Huffington: "How Long Does it Take To Look at a Painting?"
More on Bill Viola at:
Bill Viola: The Passions

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