Tilda Swinton surprised visitors of NYC's Museum of Modern Art on Saturday, March 23 with an unannounced appearance in the art installation titled "The Maybe". The Scottish actress was seen comfortably lying on white bedding with eyeglasses beside her, exhibiting herself inside a transparent display case.
The work was described as "living artist, glass, steel, mattress, pillow, linen, water, and spectacles." Swinton's appearance was apparently a surprise for the staff too. "Museum staff doesn't know she's coming until the day of," a source at the museum told Gothamist. "All that's in the box is cushions and a water jug."
The museum spokeswoman Margaret Doyle explained the concept of the work. "The nature of the concept is that it not be announced in advance, nor publicized by the museum," she said. In other words, the element of uncertainty is key to the work itself.
The museum released a statement regarding "The Maybe" exhibition featuring the 52-year-old actress, saying, "There is no published schedule for its appearance, no artist's statement released, no museum statement beyond this brief context, no public profile or image issued. Those who find it chance upon it for themselves, live and in real-shared-time: now we see it, now we don't."
Swinton first staged "The Maybe" at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1995, collaborating with Turner Prize-nominated artist Cornelia Parker. A year later, Swinton performed it in the Museo Barracco in Rome without Parker. Her recent appearance at MoMA had carefully been planned since 2005, the MoMA Chief Curator revealed.