How interesting that Tate Modern is encouraging ‘slow looking’ at the current Bonnard exhibition (Brown, 2018). The show’s curator is quoted as saying that the paintings “reward very close and extended scrutiny”.
This is consistent with the findings of my research, that what suits blind and partially sighted people is good for everyone. The Tate is showing that close examination of works is a rewarding experience that reveals details of artworks gradually.
At the audio description event at Leeds Art Gallery last week, there were several comments by sighted people who realised that you didn’t need to take in a whole picture at once. In fact, if you did you were likely to miss many of the details and features. The descriptions that were read out pointed out some of the details that people might have missed and supported a longer, closer look at the artworks.
Leeds Art Gallery had given me permission to move the barriers in front of the particular works we were viewing, so that partially sighted people could get closer to the art to better appreciate the detail. This is something that other participants took advantage of as well.
The Tate is also making their labels larger, so that people don’t have to break off their viewing to peer at them. Again, this is something that will benefit visually impaired people.
Brown, M. (2018) ‘Tate recommends ‘slow looking’ at major Pierre Bonnard exhibition’, The Guardian 23 July. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/jul/23/tate-modern-slow-looking-pierre-bonnard-exhibition-2019 (Accessed: 25 July 2018).