“Living artist, glass, steel, mattress, pillow, linen, water and spectacles.”
I saw this performance piece of Tilda Swinton sleeping under glass, during my recent visit to MoMA. She was sooo comfortable being "watched" that she was dead asleep, she was lifeless. I initially thought she was a wax sculpture. Murmurs in the crowd were that she had taken Ambien. She was entirely motionless. You couldn't see her breathing. She didn't move or wake up. The guard shooing people away from the glass and repeatedly barking, "No photos!" led me to believe otherwise. She was very much alive! A human in a glass case. Hmmm..... Anywhere else (on the street, in Starbucks, in a theater) seeing a human being would have been commonplace. Even a sleeping one. Behind (no, surrounded!) by glass and in a prestigious gallery, Tilda became something more. She was art. She was beautiful. She was open for public visual consumption. The fact that she was a celebrity intrigued me. It made me excited. It made me want to look and then look some more. But, reflecting, why on earth? Honestly, the piece entirely brought her back down to my "level". She's just a woman as I am a woman. Thinner and with more acclaim, but still merely flesh and blood.