Tilda Swinton goes on display in the name of performance art

The Academy Award-winning actress sleeps in a box at the MoMA

Actress Tilda Swinton might not have been the first person to fall asleep at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But she may have the best excuse.

On Saturday, Swinton performed her one-person art piece called The Maybe, which involved sleeping for eight hours in a glass box outfitted with a pillow and a water jug, on view for gallery goers.

The museum said in a statement that,“an integral part of The Maybe’s incarnation at MoMA in 2013 is that 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.”

The Academy Award-winning actress first performed the piece at the Serpentine Gallery in London, in 1995 where it attracted 20,000 visitors and was nominated for a Turner Prize.

Swinton has been gallery-hopping all week: On Wednesday, March 20, she attended the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s David Bowie Is exhibit, which includes 300 Bowie-related artifacts–from costumes to handwritten lyrics–and has already become the fastest-selling show in the V&A’s history. Swinton was on hand to deliver a speech–in the absence of Bowie himself–that took the form of a letter to the singer.

Dear Dave

When I asked you if you wanted me to say anything here tonight, you said: “Only three words, one of them testicular …” So I’ll pass that on.

Here I am at surely the most eclectic of all the London branches of Bowie Anonymous. All the nicest possible freaks are here.

After recounting how she first encountered the world and music of Bowie, Swinton thanked the museum, the sponsors and even acknowledged the uncanny resemblance she shares with Bowie:

When I think of what it used to feel like once: to be a freak who liked you; to feel like a freak like you – a freak who even looked a little like you …

And then I think of the countless people of every size and feather who are going to walk through this trace of your journey here and pick up the breadcrumbs in the great hub of this mothership over these spring and summer months … And how familiar and stamped you are into ALL of our our collective DNA … I’m just plain proud.

Swinton recently starred alongside Bowie in the video for the singer’s latest single, The Stars (Are Out Tonight), which was directed by Canadian artist Floria Sigismondi.