Sleeping Beauty: ‘The Maybe’

Apologies for being away so long and not updating this as much as I should have been. I’ve been a busy bee helping primary school children create a response to Claude Manet’s painting ‘The Bridge’ and more recently have been struck down with a horrendous cold, which robbed me of doing anything productive this Easter weekend 😦

Anyway, I thought I would share my views on a piece that has caused much interest into the contemporary art world lately. Tilda Swinton sleeping in a glass box at New York’s MOMA. The Oscar winning actress spent six unannounced hours asleep for a reprisal of her installation piece ‘The Maybe’ which originally debuted in London at The Serpentine Gallery in 1995. It has been revealed that a further six more undisclosed dates of this performance piece will take place throughout this year at MOMA. There’s no artist or museum statement about this work to explain the point of it, just a case of if you’re one of the lucky ones to be blessed with seeing a sleeping celebrity in a box.

At first I thought it was interesting how the actress was referred to being an ‘artist’ and how the word is so interchangeable. She is creating a performance, but isn’t that nothing different to what she does on the big screen? Now that I dwell upon it, it’s pointless work like this that infuriates me about contemporary art. Visitors are duped into paying $25 to see a person sleeping when they can probably just wonder outside and watch a homeless person do that for free. Does it not have the same message? You may see them today, you may not see them the next day. This ‘performance’ to me says nothing new, nothing the masses didn’t already know. Does it say anything new about how voyeuristic we as humans are? Not really, isn’t this in the same ranks as watching a 3AM telecast of Celebrity Big Brother? For me this does nothing to change the status quo of contemporary art as I’m sure many a people would have left saying “I could have done that”.


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