For the past couple of days I’ve resisted writing a blog post about the latest stunt at the Museum of Modern Art. The “performance piece” can be summed up thusly; Tilda Swinton sleeping in a box. You all know the actress Tilda Swinton? Well it’s her. Clothed. Sleeping in a box. At this point I should mention that the admission fee for MoMA is $25. The title of this piece is “The Maybe”, as in “maybe I can find something better to do with my time and money”.

If you’re curious to see images of Tilda sleeping in the box please click on the above link, or check out the ample coverage of this “event” in a Google News search, because I really don’t want to post them here on sweet old Museworthy. After all, this is an ART blog. <— burn!

So without embarking on a rant-like objection to this kind of gimmickry into which the contemporary art scene has sunk, or going into a lengthy jeremiad about the cynicism and soullessness that has crept into the art world in general, I’ll just say that Tilda’s shtick bothers people if only because it embodies the worst kind of navel-gazing. Since it’s Tilda’s piece, she could have hired a model or any other interesting individual to take a nap in a box. But she decided to do it herself, which makes it very difficult to dispute the sheer self-regard that seems to lie at the root of this piece. And extreme self-regard, to me, is just an inherently boring and off-putting quality. That’s all I’m saying. Tilda can certainly do whatever she wants, and no one is being forced to attend her “performance”.

I may be a professional artist’s model but it’s doubtful anyone would pay to see me sleep in a box, although they have seen me sleep on the modeling platform at Spring Studio. Just a couple of times 😉 And I too engage in a lot of navel-gazing in my work, but in the literal sense. So allow me to share the art model’s version of navel-gazing, brought to us by two of my favorite artists who also happen to be very dear friends.

My torso by Daniel Maidman:

2012-07-30 Claudia 004

Me reclining, by Fred Hatt:


10 thoughts on “Navel-gazing

  1. Claudia – thank you! I am moved and honored when you put me on Museworthy! And Fred, I love your drawing! As for Tilda Swinton, if I could get advance warning of one of her five remaining naps, I would consider going and doing a drawing of her, because *cheekbones.* But sleeping people move around a lot. Except you when modeling, you somehow don’t. We all know you’re amazing.

    • artmodel says:


      I am a heavy sleeper! So yeah I can snooze and remain pretty still. And you’re right about Tilda’s cheekbones. I imagine that many artists would find her a great subject for drawing and painting.

      Thanks so much for your comments and of course for providing a wonderful drawing!


  2. Andrew says:

    MOMA seems to like gimmickry. A few years ago they had an exhibit where patrons had to squeeze between two nude models standing in a narrow passageway — obviously designed to be awkward. They where successful in getting lots of free publicity. Maybe gimmickry sells.

    • artmodel says:


      Yes I remember that well. Quintessential MoMA. It was the talk of the town for many weeks. I myself never attended.

      Thanks for commenting!


  3. Fred says:

    Claudia, I’m honored to be featured on Museworthy, and alongside Mr. Maidman!

    I actually think the Swinton piece could stand to be a little more gimmicky than it is. It’s called “The Maybe”, because there’s no pre-announced schedule, so if you go to the museum, maybe you’ll get to look at an art-house movie star in a glass box, and maybe not. But what if when Tilda’s not there, they let homeless people sleep in the box? It’s got to be more comfortable than a refrigerator box. If I were sleeping on the streets, I think I’d love to get a chance to sleep in a comfy glass box at the museum. And then when museum-goers take their chances on getting to see what everyone wants to see – a celebrity – they might have to see what everyone tries to avoid looking at instead.

    • artmodel says:


      I’d have renewed respect for MoMA if they really did replace Tilda, unexpectedly, with an actual homeless person. Because it would be amusing to see the disappointed reactions of the people who came to see the celebrity!

      Thank you for both your comments and your fabulous drawing from Figureworks!


  4. derek says:

    I have great admiration for these two chaps
    I don’t them personally but I have seen their work in their websites they are very new to me but they have captured great artistry and the flair on their muses.
    I especially love Mr. Daniel Maidman. n’s work on that young lady they called the Blue Leah, Fred Hatt is one incredible artist and does it very well in capturing your classic pose that to me is so beautiful spirituality and grace. I am familiar with that pose it reminded me of this young lady I illustrate back in Cambridge 43 years ago.

    You certainly have a great impact on a lot of artists with your talent as a great muse that you have become. I saw a photograph that Mr. Hatt did of you in that position and you still look like an angel .You always looked lovely doing anything that is such an impact and you make it look so easy.

    • artmodel says:

      derek, thank you! I am truly privileged to know and work with Daniel Maidman and Fred Hatt. Their work is admired by many, yourself included. Though their styles are very different, their passion and commitment to artistic creation is inspiring to us all.

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments!


  5. gavinpollock says:

    I’m not going to knock Tilda, because she’s a fellow Scot. 😉

    But yes, lots of BS in the art world. The art critics over here are blabbering about Lichtenstein again, because of the exhibition. As an aspiring comic artist, I see him as a second rate hack who stole other people’s work, but the chattering classes love him.

    • artmodel says:


      “the chattering classes” is the perfect phrase to describe that crowd. I’m not familiar with the Lichtenstein fellow but he sure sounds like one of the “BS artists” 😆

      Thanks for commenting!


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