The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

5 Minutes

Lucas Samaras, Box #25, 1964, mixed media
Emilio Cruz, Genetic Engineering, 1988, oil on canvas

April 2 – July 7, 2019

Researchers have measured how long the average museum visitor looks at a work of art. The results are variable, with median times ranging from only 17 to 25 seconds. Most visitors spend more time looking at many works of art, rather than spending long lengths of time with fewer. But how well do we actually understand an artwork in less than 30 seconds? It takes longer to enjoy a cup of coffee, to unload the dishwasher, or to read a news article. Using only a few works from the permanent collection, 5 Minutes invites visitors to alter their experience by slowing down and taking the time to spend at least five minutes with a single work art.

Images: Emilio Cruz, Genetic Engineering, 1988, oil on canvas; Lucas Samaras, Box #25, 1964, mixed media