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:
Me reclining, by Fred Hatt: