Art and Design | News | Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton Sleeping in Glass Box at the MoMa


Gothamist writes:

Tilda Swinton has currently taken up residency sleeping at MoMA. It's part of an unannounced, surprise performance piece called "The Maybe" that will be taking place on random days all month. A MoMA source told us, "Museum staff doesn't know she's coming until the day of, but she's here today. She'll be there the whole day. All that's in the box is cushions and a water jug."

"Tilda Swinton will be doing unannounced, random performance art pieces sleeping in a glass box in the museum," the source added. "Today is the first performance. Each performance lasts the whole day the museum is open." Swinton and her box are located near the ticket collectors today, but the box may be in different locations at other performances.

Like Marina Abramovic, but less scheduled...

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  1. Think it would have been better served to call it "The Actor." Plays better to their desire to be the enter of attention.

    Posted by: john | Mar 24, 2013 12:18:01 AM

  2. I did this in 1999/00 in the Southern Netherlands. An up and coming British artist had me sit in a large room with a radio by myself. Only one person every showed up. I spent hours just sitting there wondering what he was trying to do. I wonder if she got this idea from this guy - a very adorable blonde guy from the UK.

    Posted by: Joe | Mar 24, 2013 12:57:12 AM

  3. I want Fred Armisen's hipster character from Portlandia to ride by and say "Sleeping in a box is OVER!"

    Posted by: txstevo | Mar 24, 2013 1:07:47 AM

  4. That is awesome.

    Posted by: Jacknasty | Mar 24, 2013 4:18:01 AM

  5. This reminds me of a segment on This American Life about an actor who played Sigmund Freud in Barney's store window.

    This line made me laugh:
    My friend David came up yesterday, and was writing down what people were saying outside. "He really looks like him, only younger." "Hey, that's a real guy." "He just turned the page. Is he allowed to do that?" "Who is that, Professor Higgins?"

    Link: (Scroll to Act 4, also has Santaland Diaries

    Posted by: AngelaChanning | Mar 24, 2013 4:58:17 AM

  6. Sorry. It's Tilda Swinton in a box. It's not thought-provoking. It's not mood-inducing, symbolic, original or even interesting. Maybe if she was crocheting a Nazi Flag, dropping mescaline and/or menstruating on some religious texts, this would be slightly more than a stunt.

    Posted by: Bollux | Mar 24, 2013 7:23:16 AM

  7. Crocheting Nazi flags is so five minutes ago.

    This is a piece called "The Maybe" that Tilda first performed about 20 years back in the UK.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Mar 24, 2013 9:44:56 AM

  8. Needs a bird on it. Or more cowbell.

    Posted by: Acronym Jim | Mar 24, 2013 10:29:55 AM

  9. Do not eat her turkish delight.

    Posted by: DJSauvage | Mar 24, 2013 10:43:32 AM

  10. I agree with Acronym Jim: "needs more cowbell."

    Posted by: Gregor | Mar 24, 2013 10:50:00 AM

  11. I'm going to get my ex-boyfriend to stand outside her box and snore -- good luck sleeping under those conditions.

    Posted by: DW | Mar 24, 2013 10:59:28 AM

  12. See, this is how Jodie Foster felt. Celebrity under the microscope, inescapably in the public eye, living forever under communal glass.

    Posted by: will | Mar 24, 2013 11:33:02 AM

  13. Whadayu guys mean? This is monumental. This is huge. Your brains can't take it in, that's all Even mine can barely manage it. Groan...the weight of its import is changing my life as I write. Up and up I can feel the enlightenment lifting me like a giant beanstalk...and so on.

    Posted by: A FRIEND | Mar 24, 2013 11:53:06 AM

  14. People are welcome to watch me do this performance just about every Sunday. It's called "Nap" and can be seen from my couch.

    Posted by: Ryan | Mar 24, 2013 12:01:40 PM

  15. Joe said: "I wonder if she got this idea from this guy."

    No, as David E notes, it's a repeat of something she first did at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in 1995.

    Posted by: John C | Mar 24, 2013 12:16:11 PM

  16. @David Ehrenstein Whatever. And by your own admission, this boring display is so 20 years ago. Oh, it's Tilda Swinton thinking she is Sleeping Beauty. There is no "maybe" about it. Yawn. Let's go check out the Boccioni upstairs.

    Posted by: Bollux | Mar 24, 2013 12:24:48 PM

  17. Shouldn't the box be bigger? She's going to leg cramps.

    Posted by: BearlyBob | Mar 24, 2013 12:24:48 PM

  18. This "idea" was Andy Warhol's, 50 years ago, in an experiemental film called "Sleep" where he filmed his friend sleeping for 5 hours and 20 minutes.

    Question: if this were Candy Crowley or the sidewalk drunk paid to sleep under glass, would it still be intriguing?

    Posted by: will | Mar 24, 2013 12:24:59 PM

  19. Oh great, now we have to put up with Carrie Bradshaw dating The Russian again.

    Posted by: ripper | Mar 24, 2013 12:28:23 PM

  20. This is not new, though. I saw it when she did it for the first time at the Serpentine Gallery in London back in 1995. I wonder what made her decide to do it again now.

    Posted by: Nando | Mar 24, 2013 12:39:33 PM

  21. Franky, I think it makes an apt counterpart to the new David Bowie video "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)."

    Joe - if you did this in 99/00 with an up and coming British artist, he should've arrived by now. Has he?

    Posted by: Harold | Mar 24, 2013 2:30:02 PM

  22. Oh Christ, here come the nabobs figuratively yelling "Mah 2nd grader coulda done that!"

    Art is often what you bring to it, what you take away. "Celebrity under glass." Isn't that so much of what our popular culture IS these days? The "art" isn't just the person in the box but those who bother to watch it.

    Are "Snooki," Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber or any of a thousand other celebrities really "worth watching" or devouring their every trip to the park and relationship drama? No, but we know it anyway because you can't escape it. There are "stars" whose shows I have never seen yet I know who they are and their latest "dramas" just from reading the headlines you can't avoid seeing.

    I'm not saying this is great "art" but there are ways of seeing it that are interesting, if you can get beyond the mindset of being a pearl-clutching old biddy who responds to everything with "Hmmph! Well I NEVER!"

    Posted by: Caliban | Mar 24, 2013 3:03:59 PM

  23. Caliban - Thank you! I was struggling to find a way of saying that. It too often goes unrecognized that to flippantly dismiss is to short change oneself. It's also a mistake, and perhaps dangerous, to think that because something is not brand new it has not merit.

    Posted by: Harold | Mar 24, 2013 3:23:51 PM

  24. CALIBAN AND HAROLD - you should get married. Just because you indulge the credulity to stare at a wall doesn't imbue the wall with any meaning at all. Your point is cant pure and simple. Most people have better things to do and if they're smart that's what they do. Our culture is filled with the faces and names of people we have no business knowing about. If you can't discern who they are it's your life to waste.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Mar 24, 2013 5:09:25 PM

  25. Maybe ...
    1. I could fall asleep as easily.
    2. She doesn't have to get up several times to pee when she doesn't have an en suite.
    3. She needs a cheap hotel room in NYC
    4. She's doing the clubs the night before and needs to crash during the day
    5. She won't show up again and thousands of people will stare for 5 minutes at an empty bed

    Posted by: Topol | Mar 24, 2013 8:54:06 PM

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