Three feature exhibits last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art focused on three pivotal decades of art. The "ReFocus" series explored historical foundations, milestones and trends in art during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The first feature exhibit of 2013, "SLOW: Marking Time in Photography and Film," takes a different direction. It explores what could be a significant part of the future of contemporary art.
The collection of work features seven artists who use the most modern technologies of photography, film and video to pose questions about duration and time.
Many of the works evolve over the course of viewing them in the galleries, allowing the viewer to "slow down the process of looking," said MOCA Director Marcelle Polednik, who conceived and curated the exhibit.
"We want our visitors to go slowly and be methodical about what they see. We want them to spend the time and have the experience. You can't really see this exhibit in one day. We want people to come back to the museum," she said.
Among Polednik's many reasons for gathering the exhibit's works was that artists who work with the latest technologies could be creating the next art movements. Seven years ago she began to notice single pieces in exhibitions and started to follow the artists' work.
"At a certain point, you gather enough momentum and know the work of five or six artists. It could be a trend in contemporary art and one that hasn't been
talked about in other exhibitions," Polednik said.
The exhibition required a substantial remodeling in the feature exhibit gallery to present each work in the proper environment. Areas have been created and furnished with benches to encourage the viewer to spend time with each example.
"There are some two-dimensional photographs, but the majority of the work is film-based. Films, in a way, function like sculpture. They occupy a three-dimensional space, so we have created spaces that allow each of the works to play to their greatest advantage," said Polednik.
"SLOW" also represents contemporary art exhibition history, she said.
"No one has united these works under this particular concept. Some of them have been displayed together before and there have been exhibitions that have touched on the theme but did not address it directly. It's also the first time that we're uniting an international corps of really recognized artists in Jacksonville," said Polednik.
Artists represented are Eve Sussman, Kota Ezawa, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Chris McCaw, Idris Khan, James Nares and David Claerbout.
"The exhibit also takes us into our mission and vision for the museum – the art and artists of our time and the ideas of our time. This exhibition touches on all of those fronts," she said.
"SLOW" opens to the public Saturday. At 2 p.m., MOCA Curator Ben Thompson will lead a panel discussion with McCaw and Nares, who will share the inspiration and technical aspects of their work. It's the first of several scheduled programs related to the exhibit.
For more information about the exhibition, educational programs, museum hours and membership, visit mocajacksonville.org.