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Watch Me Maybe
March 23, 2013 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Visitors to the Museum of Modern Art were surprised to see Tilda Swinton sleeping in a box today. The Maybe is a collaboration of Swinton and Cornelia Parker originally shown in 1995. Her appearance at MoMa is seven years in the making and will be repeated throughout the year with no announced schedule.
posted by nadawi (62 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bit of yawn.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:58 PM on March 23, 2013


Maybe she just wants a bit of a nap?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:06 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metacritic only gave this 68 points so I'll probably skip it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:17 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I will be performing this same piece tonight in my bedroom.
posted by notme at 6:24 PM on March 23, 2013 [31 favorites]


Tilda Swinton is even weirder than Not Tilda Swinton.
posted by heatherann at 6:26 PM on March 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lemme get this straight... So you're saying Tilda Swinton is in The Box?
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:32 PM on March 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


the glorious Tilda Swinton can do no wrong in my eyes.

Here's one of my favourite Tilda scenes (comes after the bike bit):
posted by Bwithh at 6:33 PM on March 23, 2013


The Maybe is one of the strangest pieces I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their celebrity friends wedged into their works of art, or why.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 6:34 PM on March 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


Wait. So you are telling me that if I sleep in a box in the MoMa I can sleep in NYC for free?
posted by littlesq at 6:41 PM on March 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


The big reveal at the end of the piece is that it's actually David Bowie sleeping in the box.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:48 PM on March 23, 2013 [26 favorites]


It's nice of Tilda to take the time to travel from her home planet to visit us.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:52 PM on March 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


So does she sleep fully clothed including shoes when it's not a museum art performance?
posted by localroger at 7:18 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


When not in a museum she sleeps in formal dress.
posted by oddman at 7:19 PM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The box is actually inside out, and she is the only one not in it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:22 PM on March 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


HA HA HA YESSSSS

I SAW THIS

I THOUGHT IT LOOKED LIKE TILDA SWINTON AND I JOKED TO MY LADY:

"Wow, I can't believe they finally captured Tilda Swinton"

AND SHE GAVE ME A CONFUSED LOOK

AND I SAID "uh 'cause that lady looks like Tilda Swinton basically"

I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS ACTUALLY HER

THE JOKE IS ON ME
posted by Greg Nog at 7:27 PM on March 23, 2013 [74 favorites]


Tilda Swinton is so weird and wonderful. Can we get her and David Lynch to do something, please?
posted by zardoz at 7:29 PM on March 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


SWINTON!
posted by Go Banana at 7:29 PM on March 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Tilda Swinton's weirdness is at least a degree of magnitude greater than David Lynch's. If her put her in a film, she would just act normal, to really fuck him up.
posted by unSane at 7:40 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


They should do a big stack of 'em and people could pay to sleep in them for awhile, like this.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:41 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was expecting a picture of a Japanese capsule hotel in the above comment.

It was way better.
posted by nonasuch at 7:43 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aw shit we almost went today but ran out of time.
posted by chococat at 7:49 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love SWINTON and her SWINTONian ways.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:51 PM on March 23, 2013


But what does it MEAN? If it weren't Tilda doing this, no one would find it very interesting...
posted by twsf at 7:57 PM on March 23, 2013


If she could EXPLAIN what it MEANT there'd be no need for her to sleep in a glass box, now, would there?
posted by unSane at 8:01 PM on March 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love this and I live Tilda Swinton and I love performance pieces. Maybe I'm missing something, but if all she has in the box is a cot, the clothes on her back, and a water jug, where is sweet sweet Tilda emptying the urine from her bladder? From the pics I've seen, her pants look like they may be large enough to conceal a diaper and there's a not-hidden part of me that's not-secretly hoping this is the case. I suppose I've not seen any mentions of how long she's spending in there a session and it's way within the realm of possibility that she's simply holding it in for a couple of hours at a time but it'd be a blast if that wasn't the case.

Tilda Swinton's weirdness is at least a degree of magnitude greater than David Lynch's.

You bite your tongue. You bite it until it becomes severed from your head, but make sure to encapsulate yourself in a box placed within a museum somewhere so we can call it art. Only then will I respect you.
posted by item at 8:02 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


THE JOKE IS ON ME

My wife has a similar story from the waning days of the card counting team. She got a really good game for a few hours at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas while there were some weird hangers-on hanging around the table where she and this other guy who was there first played blackjack. After a few hours she got tired and left and couldn't believe how little attention she got from the pit and security guys and so she got back to the room to find a text message reading SAW GF AT THE HARD ROCK PLAYING BJ WITH BRAD PITT.

To this day she says "well, he did kind of look like Brad Pitt."
posted by localroger at 8:03 PM on March 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


The spectacles, taken off and set neatly beside her sleeping (?) figure, are a clue. Although what it is they hint at I have trouble putting into words.
posted by quosimosaur at 8:09 PM on March 23, 2013


7 years in the making? wow. Used make boxes much faster in the old days.
posted by Postroad at 8:10 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


item - the first link suggests she was there from open to close and will do the same at future performances.
posted by nadawi at 8:12 PM on March 23, 2013


Also, I really like vitrines.
posted by quosimosaur at 8:13 PM on March 23, 2013


I think this is riffing off the work of an artist whose name I have no idea of. I saw his work in Vienna in the early 80s. They were photorealistic sculptures of women encased in glass cases. The one I remember was naked, which obviously isn't the case here. I have photographs... I'll dig them out if I can't figure out whose work it was.
posted by unSane at 8:19 PM on March 23, 2013


Only Tilda Swinton could sleep through a performance and make it art.
posted by nickggully at 8:27 PM on March 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like it when reality is indistinguishable from Dr. who cold opens.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on March 23, 2013 [18 favorites]


The Pandorica Opens
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:55 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem with being avant-garde is knowing who's putting on who.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:25 PM on March 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


OK, so I'm reading this thread, and everyone's referring to Tilda Swinton as "he". And I go to the first link in the FPP, and it's referring to Swinton as he, ditto for his Wikipedia article. And I think, Hmm, didn't hear that Swinton was living as a man now, but maybe it's something that was just kind of not made a big deal out of; maybe we've made that much progress.

And then I realize that it's really because I'm using Chrome on a machine that I usually don't use it on, and I'd installed Jailbreak the Patriarchy and forgotten about it some time ago.

So, uh, just thought I'd share.

Sleeping in a box in the museum. How about that. Hope people aren't tapping on the glass.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:47 PM on March 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


She's great.

Put it on a Hexbug cart thingie. Hexbug prams respond to light and motion and of course, sound (hey what are you talking at?)

I like the Gropnik post about the powerful hydraulic sculpting claw...

Hook up one of those to the pram...

------------

Anyway...I feel like making sleeps now...

You guys are great...keep it up
posted by sirlikeitalot at 1:16 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Always remember to punch some holes in the lid of the jar. Your Swinton needs lots of fresh air in order to live.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:07 AM on March 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


My sister was at school with her and boasts that she got to see her free, unboxed and daily for years. How jealous MoMa would have been.
posted by rongorongo at 3:29 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Along with Slash and Colin Farrell, she's on my list of favorite celebrities named after punctuation.
posted by horsewithnoname at 4:53 AM on March 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


This piece made me think.

It made me think the art world needs to get back to good visual art rather than wasting time on bullshit.
posted by tommyD at 5:21 AM on March 24, 2013


Awesome. Any art that gets people talking (&/or thinking) is awesome. Period.
posted by yoga at 5:21 AM on March 24, 2013


It would be a lot more awesome if it were the first time I thought this.
posted by tommyD at 5:33 AM on March 24, 2013


What if someone did a really detailed, elaborate painting, high in craft, of literal bullshit?

A suitable compromise for all?
posted by sendai sleep master at 5:58 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


~
posted by sammyo at 6:51 AM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If she could EXPLAIN what it MEANT there'd be no need for her to sleep in a glass box, now, would there?

This sums up every art school crit I ever participated in.

(Also, there was some discussion on FaceBook about is she really asleep? Can she sleep with that many people around or is the "sleep" itself a performance? To which I must say that there have been times in my life when I would have happily climbed into a glass box in a busy gallery if it meant I could take a nap.)
posted by sonika at 7:27 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much, if any, insight there is to be gotten into the piece from its title, "The Maybe"? I always struggle with whether and how much to pay attention to titles of artworks; they seem really important and I often latch onto them because they're usually the only bit of secondary material we receive directly from the artist, but titles can also be distracting, misleading, and irrelevant. The best I have right now is that "The Maybe" refers to the word that is most likely to appear in discussion of the work itself among viewers, as in, "maybe she's tired," "maybe it's a commentary on the craft of acting," "maybe she lost a bet."
posted by Pfardentrott at 7:53 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Along with Slash and Colin Farrell, she's on my list of favorite celebrities named after punctuation.

What have you got against Dash Mihok, then?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:54 AM on March 24, 2013


The Maybe is a collaboration of Swinton and Cornelia Parker originally shown in 1995.

There's something weird going on with the authorship/attribution/whatever of The Maybe - it's variously credited as a collaboration between the two prompted by Swinton, a piece by Parker in which Swinton appears, and now (going by the title card at MOMA) a piece by Swinton alone.

Of course this version of The Maybe is quite different to the original - it's taking place in different locations around the museum, at various times, unannounced, rather than for eight hours a day for seven days straight in the same spot - so you can see why Parker might not want to be associated with this The Maybe, and why Swinton might consider it her piece alone in this incarnation. (I can't remember the setup for The Maybe as shown at Museo Barracco)

Whatever the reason, it's certainly unusual for a contemporary work to be credited to a different artist or artists at different times, and there's obviously a huge difference between a performance by Tilda Swinton and an installation by Cornelia Parker in which Tilda Swinton appears as a performer.
posted by jack_mo at 8:30 AM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think when Cornelia Parker went up to Tilda Swinton and said, "Okay, there's this metatextual space reductionist theory-based derivation of a woman's right to her own body dynamic happening, but with a post-industrial, post-modern pastiche of capitalist expectations installation I'm currently working my way through..." and Parker noticed that Tilda had fallen asleep listening, that she then said, "OH, THAT'S IT!"
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:33 AM on March 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


jack_mo - i wonder if the cornelia parker parts of the original piece were the other bits, churchill's cigar, queen victoria's stocking, napoleon's rosary, etc. i don't believe those parts were recreated at any of the other showings, which might account for the name card changes.
posted by nadawi at 9:17 AM on March 24, 2013


Cornelia Parker's original version of The Maybe was not just Tilda Swinton in a box. It occupied all of the rooms of the Serpentine Gallery and had lots of artefacts like Winston Churchill's half smoked cigar, Queen Victoria's stocking and Charles Dickens' quill pen, may of them also in glass boxes.

Obviously the headline grabbing centre piece was Tilda Swinton but her body was presented as just another artefact.
posted by alanbee at 9:17 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


is she really asleep? Can she sleep with that many people around or is the "sleep" itself a performance?

She wasn't when I saw her, I don't think, but that was only for like two minutes, so maybe she was just momentarily tossing/turning.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2013


Also, too, tweets about it from Wonderella here and here.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:16 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's Ambien. Maybe it's Lunesta.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:22 PM on March 24, 2013


Meeting famous people is always really awkward because you come to them with all your preconceptions from the stuff they are famous for.

This piece may be an awkward way of looking at Tilda Swinson, but it is awkward in largely the same way that it's awkward to walk in on someone sleeping. You don't even know when exactly you can see her.

So it's about the most personal interaction you can engineer with Tilda Swinson if you don't have what it takes to spend time having normal person conversations with her. Most people don't. You'd have to fly on a lot of jets, and spend a lot of time waiting for her to get out of character. (Does that happen?)
posted by LogicalDash at 6:12 PM on March 24, 2013


They should have put the box on softly sprung wheels so people could roll her wherever they wanted on the premises. One minute she'd be snoring loudly beside the Water Lilies triptych and the next she'd wake up gently nudging a wind-powered deminer in the third floor Design Gallery.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:42 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If any of these people had any common decency they'd throw a blanket over the box to block the light so she could get some proper sleep.
posted by homunculus at 7:58 PM on March 24, 2013


Why does she need her eyeglasses in the box if she's asleep?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:09 PM on March 24, 2013


They should have put the box on softly sprung wheels so people could roll her wherever they wanted on the premises. One minute she'd be snoring loudly beside the Water Lilies triptych and the next she'd wake up gently nudging a wind-powered deminer in the third floor Design Gallery.
posted by CynicalKnight Almost 2 hours ago [+]


We put celebrities in huge hamster balls and let them roam the galleries freely. They can be seen but never touched or be communicated with. It's a beautiful symbol of the modern media environment.
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


My God, are they going to leave me here to die?
posted by unSane at 7:09 AM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Performance-Art Lullabies
posted by homunculus at 12:26 PM on March 28, 2013


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