Not a day goes by without the publication of a new think piece calling for a need to slow down in the face of the frantic pace of the internet age. There’s a Slow Food movement and even a Slow Sex movement. As for art, the last few years have seen the percolating rise of Slow Art Day at museums, asking visitors to slow down and focus—though the concept has yet to truly catch fire.

In a new book, Slow Art: The Experience of Looking, Sacred Images to James Turrell, Pomona College literature professor Arden Reed sets out to provide the missing theory needed to secure what he calls the “new aesthetic field” that he sees emerging around experiences of deceleration and slowness.

“Slow art has no manifesto; the artists we will meet did not often communicate with one another,” Reed writes in the book’s introduction. “But in retrospect, I believe, we can establish the origin of slow art and draw kinships among its expressions.”

Reed is the author of several books about art, including Manet, Flaubert, and the Origin of Modernism: Blurring Genre Boundaries (Cambridge, 2003). In Slow Art, the examples he uses are wide-ranging, from Ad Reinhardt’s “Black Paintings” to Laguna Beach’s enthusiastically cheesy “Pageant of the Masters” festival of tableau vivant paintings (“Arrested Development” fans will be familiar with its parody version as the “Living Classics Pageant“). read more