Tilda Swinton sleeps in a glass box at the Museum of Modern Art in a performance art piece called 'The Maybe'

By Markirah Shaw,

English actress Tilda Swinton surprised museum goers and staff alike when she showed up at the Museum of Modern Art to feature in a performance art piece called “The Maybe.”

Gothamist magazine reports that “The Maybe” is a minimalist modern piece by artist Cornelia Parker that's made of a glass box, a cushion, a jug of water, and a sleeping Oscar winner. Swinton’s role in the performance piece is to lay in the box with her eyes closed for eight hours straight.

This is not the first time, nor even the second, that Swinton has performed "The Maybe." Its first installation was in London in 1995 at the Serpentine Gallery, then shortly after at the Museo Barracco in Rome.

According to the Gothamist, Swinton is set to perform six more times this year. The catch is that she will show up randomly, unannounced, and at different locations throughout the museum each time.

Adding on to the mystery of this quirky art installation, the MoMA is remaining tight-lipped about what to expect from it. They stated, “An integral part of The Maybe's incarnation… is that there is no published schedule for its appearance, no artist's statement released, no museum statement beyond this brief context….Those who find it chance upon it for themselves, live and in real—shared—time: now we see it, now we don't.”

However, a dusty article of Independent magazine's from 1995 may hint at the piece’s appeal.

Independent sought the visceral reactions of museum visitors of the London exhibit. One person said, “The exhibition is called ‘The Maybe.’ Maybe it's art, maybe it isn't. Maybe [Swinton] is asleep, maybe awake. Maybe she's dead. Or, as many visitors seemed to be thinking, maybe if I hang around long enough she'll have to go for a pee. And in that event would the work of art go with her or would it stay behind in the glass case?”

Swinton is known for her alternative personal style and movie projects, the most recent of which was the Academy Award-nominated independent film Moonrise Kingdom.

She also opened the exhibition “David Bowie Is” in London on Saturday, calling the iconic musician “every alien’s favorite cousin.”

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