For Slow Art Day, Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Odyssey” April 1, 2020

Saturday, April 4, is the 10th annual worldwide Slow Art Day, when all of us are encouraged to spend real time with a work of art: at least 5 to 10 minutes—more than the 30 seconds studies have shown is our average when we encounter a work of art in a museum or gallery.

Even though the MFAH is temporarily closed, we still honor the spirit of Slow Art Day. You can spend time with the art collections online here. And you can watch this seven-minute, slowed-motion film of the two-week process in 2010 that led to the creation of one of the most popular works of art in the MFAH collections. Odyssey, the mural installation by Cai Guo-Qiang, lines the walls of the Arts of China Gallery.

► Watch as the artist, along with dozens of volunteers and MFAH staff as his assistants, realizes this monumental work in a Houston warehouse, using brushes and ink; X-Acto knives and craft-paper stencils; hand-laid hemp paper; and gunpowder.