Tilda Swinton has started taking naps in a glass box at MoMA. It’s ART.

Here are some photos of Tilda Swinton at “David Bowie Is” (the David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum) on Wednesday night in London. Tilda looked amazing, as always, and I kind of love that Tilda is all up on Bowie these days. They are both righteous aliens, but perhaps they are from different planets and they intrigue each other?

But Tilda isn’t just an attendee at art shows these days! The Gothamist reports that Tilda has signed on to BE the art at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, in New York). Tilda is doing a “surprise performance art piece” called “The Maybe” in which she will appear randomly (as in, no schedule given) at MoMA to lay in a glass box on display. A MoMA source told The Gothamist, “Museum staff doesn’t know she’s coming until the day of… 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.” Like, SHE is “the art”. Here’s a photo of her performance:

You know what? I don’t hate it. If it was James Franco, I would hate it. I would be rolling my eyes and bitching. But it’s TILDA. She’s one of the few people where I can honestly say, “Yeah, I can see how her naps would be ART.” I hope this becomes a thing – I would also like to see Benedict Cumberbatch do a performance art piece like this where he just chilled in a glass box. Without a shirt. Or pants. That art installation would sell out!! Cumberbitches would buy ALL THE TICKETS.

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet, Lia Toby/WENN.com & The Gothamist.

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114 Responses to “Tilda Swinton has started taking naps in a glass box at MoMA. It’s ART.”

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  1. Bubbles says:

    I just don’t get it.

    • magda says:

      I get it, but it’s plain old conceputal piece of art. since sixties there are dozen this kind of projects.
      but hey, it’s Tilda, so every random people will be interested in this.

      ps. Marina Abramovic ‘Artist is Present’ in MoMA. It was utterly amazing.

      • The Original Tiffany says:

        Why am I so curious that I might wander over to see if the alien is sleeping today?

      • Beatriz says:

        Yes, Marina’s performance piece was AMAZING.

      • oliveo says:

        ‘The Artist is Present’ documentary is one of my favorite docs ever. There’s one part where James Franco sits down across from Marina and then stands on the edge of a conversation about acting with some other MoMA-goers. An older man, oblivious that James Franco is James Franco, asks him if he’s an actor. Priceless.

      • Adrien says:

        magda, there was a touching part when her ex-lover,Ulay sat in front of her.

    • V4Real says:

      Someone’s screaming for attention

  2. Timber says:

    This is not art.

    • Isabell says:

      To some people its not Art, to others it is Art. Its subjective and doesn’t need to make sense.

      • Amelia says:

        I was having a conversation with someone and what can be considered art, and he insisted that *anything* can be art. So I picked up a knife (we were at lunch, just to clarify – I’m not a serial killer!) and dipped it in the butter pot, and asked “So can this buttery knife be considered ‘art’?”
        His reply was “As long as there’s an idea behind it.”
        There’s a limit in what can be considered art, in my opinion. Honestly, I fail to see how Damian Hirst cutting up a bunch of animals and preserving them in jelly counts as art. His name is now worth more than his services.
        Personally, when I think of art, I think of the paintings hanging in the National Gallery, or something that conveys emotion, but to each their own, I suppose. If it’s not hurting anyone then I suppose there isn’t a great deal to get worked up about.

      • annaloo. says:

        Thank you Isabell. The beauty of art is that it will not be the same to everyone, and involves more than just “my 3 year old can do that” or “it’s only art if it pleases me”.

      • Irishae says:

        I agree. The combination of my undying love for all things SWINTON and spending more time in the art studio than the classroom makes it impossible not to approve this. 🙂

      • Isabell says:

        I admit I’ve had difficulty understanding some Art and just shake my head. Simply don’t get it or don’t see the point of it. Its always amusing to see someone looking at the same piece you’ve disliked and they’re emotionally/visually affected by it. Very few Art pieces have appealed to the masses or the world, its very rare.

      • LAK says:

        @Amelia – i can understand how Damian HUrst can be art, but then i am an enthusiastic patron of modern art [goodness that sounded wanky even as i typed it out]!!!!LOL. However, i drew the line at Chris Ofili’s elephant dung paintings and Tracy Amin’s ‘unmade bed’ which was exactly as described except it had dirty sheets, all kinds of debris including food and used condoms. my inner housewife just wanted to clean that mess up.

        That said, you should visit the National Portrait Gallery to see video installation of David Beckham asleep. It is questionable whether it’s voyeurism or art because he is mesmerising and extremely beautiful up close and asleep.

      • Shi-gatsu says:

        There is no art, only artists… and those who appreciate their works

  3. SmokeyBlues says:

    I like it. Noone gets to decide what is and is not art. It would make me uncomfortable and it makes me think about the fact that most of us prefer to sleep in private. Things that make me think are good 🙂

    • Laura says:

      While there certainly is no definitive authority on what is art, this does not necessarily mean people can go claiming everything is art. That simply means that a piece of rubbish you find in the street can also be classified as art. I personally think that post-modern performance art has gotten way out of hand in the sense that anything now can be classified as ‘art’. There is no effort, there is no semblance of artistic talent … the only reason it makes you think is because you are wondering what possessed the person to do this in the first place and what their motives in displaying it are. It makes me sad what things are exhibited in contemporary art galleries today.

      • Regina Lynx says:

        I. Couldn’t. Agree. More.

        Well said.

      • annaloo. says:

        Laura– may I kindly suggest your reading up on Marcel Duchamp.. his body of work may present a different angle from where you are looking about claiming “what is art”.

      • Laura says:

        Oh annaloo, I know more than enough about Duchamp’s ‘Readymades’ …
        I think that Duchamp’s work and its concept is interesting and intriguing, it is only so because it was an original idea. Furthermore, it was part of the Dadaist movement which tried to use absurdity and uncommon objects in art in the first place. In this context, Duchamp’s work expresses a certain meaning and originality that these post-modern works fail to do. But then again, Duchamp was using his ‘Readymades’ partly to express the absurdity of how some items can be viewed as ‘art’ just because of its context.
        So in a way, Duchamp’s works really just highlights how ridiculous some post-modern art can be. Art these days make me sad.

        Also, thank you for that awesome .gif Regina Lynx! Haha.

      • Laura says:

        And furthermore annaloo, going back to my original point – for instance, there is a work by contemporary artist Mike Parr which just involves him shooting himself in a body part. Now really, how is that art in any way, shape or form? I refuse to accept any explanation on his part to argue that it is so. Works like that are only for shock value so that it will increase his name recognition, without actually making a well-made piece of art. Much of contemporary art has fused with commercialisation to promote artists (which become like brand names) who have no real talent. Take Hirst for example, who is possibly the least talented world-renowned contemporary artist today.

  4. stellalovejoydiver says:

    Somewhere James Franco is crying in his books of crappy self-written poem that he didn´t come up with this.

    You can already see “Benedict Cumberbatch do a performance art piece like this where he just chilled in a glass box”- just visit the reptile terrarium of your closest zoo.

  5. GoodCapon says:

    It’s a bit pretentious 🙁

  6. Oops says:

    I am totally hermetic in all that the press and others call art (like Wim Delvoye and his Cloaca). I don’ t see in what Tilda makes is original.

  7. Lizzie K says:

    This is just crap. But that is art’s purpose … to reflect our society and culture. So I guess it is art as well as crap.

    • MavenTheFirst says:

      Art is meant to elevate and inspire, to move and to provoke thought, timelessly. This merely is a lazy, manufactured, lowbrow sneer at art. Anybody could ‘create’ this. In fact, I’m thinking of placing a pair of my battered old shoes on a 22 carat golden pedestal. Now the masses can wonder why the pedestal wasn’t pure gold, think what a waste of gold, ponder the outline of the foot within the shoe, the history of the shoe and wearer, blah di blah blah.

      • Lizzie K says:

        I agree, Maven. “Art” like this always makes me feel like the child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” I can never decide if the “artist” is stupid him/herself, or if he/she just thinks we are.

      • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

        Agreed. Art should take some skill. Or the artist must already be established and known to possess talent. This is just a homely actress lying in a box and at best is someone could MAYBE call it performance art, but even that is stretching it.
        Bottom line, it’s totally stupid to the point of being annoying when fartsy old rich people call this shit “art.” Find another word for it or find some other way to fill your boring, shallow, empty lives.

    • Hakura says:

      Yep! One doesn’t have to be exclusive from the other! It can just be ‘Crappy Art’ or ‘Artistically Crappy’. xD

  8. Mr.Smurf says:

    I read on the dailymail that the point was to show her at her most vulnerable…while she’s sleeping, I guess. It’s weird. I guess it is semi-interesting, but not enough to actually go and see it.

  9. GoodCapon says:

    I think there’s definitely a double standard when it comes to James Franco (Kaiser mentioned him up there). Everything he talks about is considered pretentious but when other actors do it, it’s considered art.

    I really don’t mind his “art” but my main gripe about him is the NYU professor and his grades thing. Other than that…

    • stellalovejoydiver says:

      Franco sucks as much as an artist as his ego is big. He thinks the more often he tells people about his self proclaimed genius the more they believe it, it is like an intrinsic version of “The Emperor´s new clothes”, he is the weaver and his “artistry” is the emperor.
      The only thing he is good(not great) at is acting.

    • Beatriz says:

      I agree, I don’t like Franco, but to say that just because Tilda did it it’s “good” or “art” is kind of lame.
      In regards to the performance, I wouldn’t say it’s not art, but it’s definitely not original.
      And sorry if I sound like a bitch today, I have a cold -__-.

  10. lamamu says:

    I love it! Was there any doubt that Tilda Swinton is ART?

  11. Miss Jupitero says:

    I LOVE Tilda and I want her life. I also want the outfit she is wearing for her nap.

    I can’t see Cumberbatch doing anything like this. i think you have to be really strange to pull this off and nobody competes with Tilda on the strangeness scale.

  12. Alli says:

    Cumberbitches would move into MOMA and call it performance art if that happened. Occupy Cumberbatch.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      I can think of at least 3 bitches who would try to climb into the glass box with him.

  13. Annie says:

    I don’t like ~art like this.

    I like art, but I feel that soooo much of it is pure trolling. And bullshit. Especially modern art. I feel like it might be easy to fake being an artist.

  14. Ellie66 says:

    Oh please this is just silly! Is it “Art” because she is a actress? What if it was just a regular person sleeping in there, then is it still considered “Art”?

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      I think it would! This is the sort of thing conceptual artists do all of the time, and it works. It’s performative and Tilda can pull it off. She isn’t just an actress btw– he ex husband and current husband are both visual artists, and she has always been a part of that world.

      • MavenTheFirst says:

        It ‘works’ for the gullible.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        It works for those of us who like conceptual art and appreciate the humor, intelligence, and the surprise in this kind of installation. Life IS art. Tilda IS performance. I adore it!

        Sorry you don’t appreciate it, but it would be nice if you could try not insult those of us who do. There are some nice paintings for you to look at on the next floor.

      • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

        Condescending much Miss Jupitero?

  15. dcypher1 says:

    Thats not art thats weird voyerism. Kinda creepy.

    • MavenTheFirst says:

      Oh, well said! I never thought of that. So astute! Which makes this the height of exhibitionism.


  16. India says:

    God. She is a freak and her face is toxed all to hell. I would not waste one millisecond of my time to go and see her napping in a glass box.

  17. pfeiffer87 says:

    Her makeup & hair are flawless.

  18. NicolaGossips says:

    Didn’t she do this installation about 10 years ago? Before she was “famous-famous”?

  19. Arya says:

    I study art history and I absolutely love Tilda, but I’m still the first one to roll my eyes at these kinds of performances. Even when it’s her.

    • Myrto says:

      I agree. I love Tilda but I tend to find those performance art things silly.
      Although the problem I have whenever there’s a conversation about contemporary art is people who know nothing about it and yet use arguments such as “my 3-year-old nephew could do better than that” or something along those lines. Just because some pieces in contemporary art are absolutely rubbish and stupid doesn’t mean eveything is.

  20. i'm french don't kill me says:

    it’s lame! it’s so “déjà-vu” 1000 times
    even in Sex And The City,there was this sort of performance!

    • French Reader says:

      Haha, I remember that episode, when Baryshnikov took Carrie to an art gallery I think.
      Edit: they meet at the art gallery and then they go back there on a date. Anyway.

  21. TheyPromisedMeBeer says:

    The next time I fall asleep at work, I am so using this as my excuse:

    “Dude, boss, it’s ART! I’m displaying the apathy of the people! The Waffle House is the metaphor for the lower class and – no, I am NOT HUNGOVER, good lord, what kind of employee do you think I am?”

    • Bijlee says:

      LOL! You’re just suffering for your art!

    • Hakura says:

      LMAO. I’ll have to remember that one. You could even argue your ART was purely for those on the other side of the window, looking IN. You know, then make up another excuse for the drool on the table/bar/chair. xD

  22. LAK says:

    This isn’t the first time she’s done this. She did it in London several years ago.I think it was at the serpentine gallery, but I could be wrong.

    Sam taylor johnson made a video installation of a sleeping becks which now hangs at the NPG. Seeing how beautiful Becks looks asleep, so close, so flawless……I really hate (but not really) that VB for having such a gorgeous hubby. Totally jealous.

    Sleeping people are fascinating. If I were in NYC, I’d go see this piece.

    • lower-case deb says:

      The Gothamist news article wrote about how she first did it in 1995, collaborating with an artist to create her glass box.

      i guess this is a reprise of that, or a performance-art version of having a travelling exhibition or buying an art from one gallery and showing it in another.

  23. Miss M says:

    Yes…We got to that stage where Kaiser name-drops a Dong in every post… Now is Cumby’s turn… *brace yourselves CB*tches *

  24. Cool Phosphorescent Shimmer says:

    I know that loving all things Tilda is the popular thing, but I am sick to death of her.

    • Hakura says:

      I just.. Never understood people’s being drawn to her, since I just found her extremely odd/definitely NOT attractive from the start. So I’m pretty much scratching my head, too.

      • Lisa says:

        I don’t think she’s unattractive, just considered unusual because she doesn’t wear makeup. But as far as thinking she’s great and holy, no.

      • Hakura says:

        @Lisa – Well she *does* have a .. unique.. look. And she’s obviously very comfortable with herself, which is beauty in it’s own way.

        Just not what I’d personally considered outwardly ‘pretty’, kind of how I’m torn over Rumer Willis.

  25. diva says:

    I don’t get how that’s art. At the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago they had a contest where someone would stay in a glass box for a month at the museum and after hours they got to play with the exhibits. Is that considered art too? That sounds way more entertaining than just taking a nap.

  26. MavenTheFirst says:

    Contemptible pretentiousness. Who takes this kind of ‘art’ seriously?

    Soulless freaks.

  27. dcypher1 says:

    Anyone can do that if anyone can do it its not art.

  28. Victoria1 says:

    I like Tilda and her high fashion. However, I’m not into performance art. I don’t know, I’m not intellectual enough to get it perhaps. To me art is looking at “the scream” or going to the Met. But whatever floats your boat

  29. Jess says:

    If it weren’t Tilda doing it I would hate it. But because it’s her, I love it!

  30. Boodiba says:

    Tilda has NOTHING on my farts and nose picking.

  31. Sarcasmo says:

    I’d go see it, just because it’s Tilda and she’s AWESOME. (I’ll leave the “art v. non-art” argument to those more qualified.)

  32. Grant says:

    It astonishes me that people do stuff like this and call it “art.” Get a job.

  33. Mira says:

    I would see this if I were in NY. Sleeping for me is a very private habit just like eating is. I hate to be photographed sleeping or eating. I like to be comfortable or with people I know very well to enjoy a meal or have sleepovers. I can’t sleep anywhere and everywhere. I always have to be back home, in my room to sleep. This performance piece fascinates me just for that. I can’t imagine sleeping in a box conscious of the fact that people will be checking me out.

    • Hakura says:

      I’m the very same way about sleeping, being a really private thing. (It downright escapes me how some people could NAP in an airport or subway station). Sleepovers & camping are very difficult for me. >.< I end up just laying there half the night trying to get to sleep, or giving up trying to find something to do that won't wake everyone.

      My brother once took a pic of me sleeping just to be annoying, it was… kinda weird to see it, for some reason. I guess I *would* find interest in that, but I'd be satisfied to just see it on tv or something. xD

  34. LoL says:

    What is so awesome about Tilda again? Omgah she’s so bizarre looking and androgynous. Yawn. She looks absolutely plastic and waxy. Botox much? I thought she would be ~above~ such Hollywood trappings.

  35. Ozge says:

    Have you read her speech at V&A? It actually made me tear up. Please go check it out if you haven’t already.

  36. taxi says:

    I hope they empty the room when she’s entering & leaving the box. Seeing movement would ruin the image.

  37. Nev says:


  38. skuddles says:

    I’m not exactly sure what I think about this. There’s such a strong voyeuristic feel to it… I know I’d be a bit weirded out, maybe even a little embarrassed, to stare at a woman sleeping in a glass box. I get the “showing her at her most vulnerable” aspect but it seems a bit dehumanizing too… putting her on display like some object. Odd and intriguing concept.

  39. Elly says:

    Tilda is cool. She´s a brilliant actress… but this “art”…

  40. EscapedConvent says:

    I adore Tilda, but this is a bit silly. I thought it was silly when Yoko Ono did it. Google “Yoko Ono performance art piece is the artist sitting on a gallery floor while patrons cut items of clothing off her with a scissors.”

    • Shi-gatsu says:

      I like Tilda Swinton – but this has no soul.

      Yoko Ono’s cut piece was intriguing because the audience got to interact – by the end of the performance, you really got to see how twisted and perverted people can be

  41. Original A says:

    Not original at all. I still love Tilda, though. She can be pretentious as hell, but she pulls it off. I love that she starred in a Bowie video too…my favorite aliens together at last!

  42. Amy says:

    Huh… my sister was telling us about it, she is interning right now at MoMa. I’m not a fan of performance art because I just don’t get it. I did recently the Marina Abramovic “The Artist is Present” video where she is momentarily reunited with her ex-boyfriend Ulay during the piece and “breaks character” to reach across the table to hold hands with him. That was cool, but I don’t get the concept behind it either. To me it’s like David Blaine doing one of his weird stunts like sitting in a cube of water for a week.

    Contemporary art is not my thing, but I still would go to MoMa and stare at Tilda if I knew what days she would be there just because it’s so weird!

    • Hakura says:

      Sounds like you’d have the advantage of hearing about what days she shows up (from your sister, once she finds out, at least) on your side, at least.

      • Amy says:

        Sadly I do not think interns get notified in advance of when Tilda is coming. They are quite low on the totem pole. I think only the higher ups at the museum are told and then place her box in a room (the box is not always placed in the same room). My sister might get lucky in that Tilda might happen to be there the same day as her (she only interns twice a week) though!

  43. Jane says:

    I love Tilda!

  44. Adrien says:

    David Bowie’s alter-egos: Alladin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, White Duke, Tilda Swinton.

  45. Lisa says:

    But is it art, Eddie?

  46. Lisa says:


    Couldn’t this be proof that people will be entertained by anything? The fact that she’s famous adds to the voyeurism. We’re watching her do something we wouldn’t normally get to see, yet it makes us consider art as a construction because… She’s an actress and this is all planned. Is she really asleep, or is she acting? *dramatic organ music*

    I’ve been writing essays and stretching points to kingdom come, forgive me.

  47. Asdfg says:

    My first thought… WTF! How does she breathe in that box? LOL! I don’t see how her sleeping in a box is art. Whatever floats her and others boat I suppose! 🙂

  48. telesma says:

    I take it as commentary on the fishbowl nature of celebrity, but as far as conceptual pieces go, it’s pretty obvious and unimaginative. Perhaps the literalism of it is the point, though.

  49. fabgrrl says:

    SWINTON sleeping in a box? I would TOTALLY put that up in my living room.

  50. Samihami says:

    Pretentious crap.

  51. grenadared says:

    I saw this on Saturday. It was kind of interesting, but I was distracted because I kept wondering if this woman was supposed to look like Tilda Swinton. Never occurred to me that it could actually be her.

  52. Alana Fajina says:

    Brilliant. You had me LOL’ing with the whole “Yeah, I can see how her naps would be ART.” It’s Tilda, of course, right?!!
    Bitch has me wishin I was an East Coaster atm ;p

  53. RHONYC says:

    TILDART. i’m in! 😉