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The New Museum has launched a new project by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, called Bedtime Stories, featuring contributions from some of the most eminent names in art and culture, including Iggy Pop, Jeff Koons, Rashid Johnson, David Byrne, Takashi Murakami, Marilyn Minter, Elizabeth Peyton, Jordan Wolfson, Michael Stipe, and Maya Lin.

Inviting friends and other artists and performers he admires to keep us company, Maurizio Cattelan imagined Bedtime Stories as a way of staying together during these days of isolation. Each participant has been asked to read a selection from their favourite book – a sentence, passage, chapter, or more – to be shared with the New Museum’s online audiences. Some chose to read existing works or read their own writings, and others to create impromptu performances. The entries were recorded by the artists in their homes or studios around the world, captured quickly in an unfiltered fashion on phones or laptops, whether drawn from memory, imagination, or cherished volumes kept close at hand.

Maurizio Cattelan

The chosen works come from poetry, literature, politics, dreams, and other far-flung destinations in the collective imagination. Some selections, like Rashid Johnson’s recitation from Amiri Baraka’s Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, David Byrne’s reading from Milton Rokeach’s Three Christs of Ypsilanti, and Thomas Hirschhorn’s reading from Simone Weil’s Gravity and Grace, speak to the political and spiritual upheaval of our time, while Marilyn Minter offers her political take in the form of an original limerick. Nicole Eisenman and Sarah Nicole Prickett have chosen an excerpt from Laurie Weeks’s delirious short story Debbie’s Barium Swallow, a work from the 1990s that remains searingly relevant today.

Laure Prouvost

Others likes Tacita Dean and Andra Ursuta offer poetic reflection through the words of Thomas Hardy and Witold Gombrowicz respectively, while Laure Prouvost and Seth Price offer a glimpse inside the surreal literary landscapes of their own heads. Taken together, they compose a compendium of strange and inspiring tales from some of today’s most beloved artists to offer comfort, distraction, and amusement. The series kicks off with a contribution from musician Iggy Pop reading a humorously touching love letter to a long-lost dog.  A new instalment of Bedtime Stories will be made available each day via the New Museum’s website and also shared on the Museum’s social media channels.

David Byrne

Participating artists include: Black Thought, John Bock, David Byrne, Jordan Casteel, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Minerva Cuevas, Tacita Dean, Cheryl Donegan, Jimmie Durham, Nicole Eisenman and Sarah Nicole Prickett, Rachel Feinstein, Mary Heilmann, Camille Henrot, Thomas Hirschhorn, Rashid Johnson, Joan Jonas, Jeff Koons, Gabriel Kuri, Maya Lin, Ibrahim Mahama, Marilyn Minter, Takashi Murakami, Nicolas Party, Raymond Pettibon, Elizabeth Peyton, Iggy Pop, Seth Price, Laure Prouvost, Ugo Rondinone, Cally Spooner, Michael Stipe, Suha Traboulsi, Wu Tsang, Andra Ursuta, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Jordan Wolfson among others.

Feature image: Iggy Pop by Maurizio Cattelan / Images courtesy New Museum

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