Sleep and be Art

If you like sleeping and like art the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York is looking for you. You also have to be female, be between the ages of 18 and 40, and be prepared to take a sleeping pill before your performance.

chinese artist chu yun
The sleeping women are an installation by the contemporary Chinese artist Chu Yun. Yun will be showing at the New Museum’s “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus” exhibition of emerging artists, from April 7 to June 28.

If you don’t mind people watching you sleep and want to be a part of the installation, contact the New Museum asap. Details can also be found on the Idealist website here.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Those Chinese artists just keep on copying the worst of the west. I hope Tracy Emmin gets on to her lawers and sues for copyright. OK she showed the finished article of the bed after a female had slept in it, but I think there could be a case. And maybe what Chu Yun is showing is really just a work in progress and the women wake up, jump out of bed and what are we left with? Yes…. a whole load of unmade beds! I rest my case.

    The idea about the sleeping pills is really great. The Tate modern in London should hand them out to everyone visiting so they don’t accidently wake up as they sleep walk around the dull old tosh they label as art. The pills need only be of low strength as the first dozon exhibits put most people into a fairly deep sleep, but a pill would be a wise precaution against waking up suddenly in front of Tracy trying to sort out her bed!

  2. Donald Frazell says:

    How about a particpatory member? You know how these art school types love to avoid meaning and true art by having “installations” and “performance ” art, you can even tape it as “video” art.

    Just put a few Lazy-boyz reclining chairs in front of the sleeping anorexic beauties, and watch as viewers fall asleep in front of the “work”. Attach a few wires to their heads, and measure m grams, and seem how deeply and fully Contempt art can put an intelligent, ballanced human being to sleep. I will volunteer, for a plane ticket and room and board.

    Though the “museum” is a rather scary place, all sterilized and like a clinical environment, no life permitted whatsoever, so all focus can go to the barely breathing works before the lab technicians. They might make me into a guinea pig. Oh wait, they already ARE guinea pigs, THATs the secret! Artistes aren’t humans at all, they are lemmings! Getting their revenge on humanity. I knew nature must be in there somehow. I guess god is watching, and laughing. Or is it crying? My people, my people.

    art collegia delenda est

  3. Oh my god, they would get a right bloody performance from me LOL!

  4. I like Don’s idea. It could be interesting to record the brain waves of artists while they are sleeping. Besides, if you put a the right frame on it, anything looks good.

  5. Sounds interesting. There is something kind of prying and I don’t really know why. Is it art? I would say so. I also agree if someone wanted to record my brainwaves wile I slept and when I was painting I would be up for it.

  6. wow, this is really cool. Kind of voyeuristic.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I bet Mullarkey wishes she could sleep. Have you read about that controversy yet? I posted about it last night. It’s Brian. I’m gonna be lazy and be anon.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. Will they start copying the poo poo art and the crucifixes in urine too?

  9. I think modurn art is about seeing how big a fool you can make of the patron and sometimes the model.

  10. Donald Frazell says:

    Again, this is not modern art, I am a modern artist, born of Cezanne, and gone on to find much more.
    This is Contempt art, born of Warhol, and died with Hirst.

  11. Cool

  12. The precurser is not Tracy Emin but Cornelia Parker and Tilda Swinton. The latter slept in a glass case as a work by Parker for an exhibition at the Serpentine in London back in September 1995. Chu Yun and the New Museum should reconsider this piece.

  13. Donald Frazell says:

    Didnt they make fun of this in Sex in The City? You can tell im married, huh. She went to it with Baryshnakov in the early AM to see if Jennifer Aniston got up for a burger or not. duh, daduh. Cant wait for Mencia to do a skit on dumb white artistes.

  14. Wow, this is so cool! :) I like sleeping a bit too much. I don’t think I would need a sleeping pill.

  15. Donald got it right! I had an art prof that said “if you call it art, then it’s art”. This seems like a perfect example. Call me old fashioned but I prefer art that shows skill in design, concept, technical mastery…not simply someone who was able to get funding and publicity (does this mean Paris Hilton is one of the great artists of our lifetime?)

  16. With regard to the artwork, I think it is hard to pass judgement about this piece as the image provided is a photographic documentation of a performance installation. A performance is a performance because someone performs to an audience. An installation is a work that is site-specific and interactive. A photograph cannot give a true representation of this and one can only assume their reaction to the real life version.

    However, I am particularly fond of the concept. I will disagree with Earl in saying that Chu Yun has simply recreated the work of Tracey Emin. I think that this is a hugely narrow-minded thing to say, simply because both artists have used a bed. The main difference is that Chu Yun’s piece is a performance as well as an installation. Emin’s piece titled “My Bed” 1998 can be seen as a self portrait. She has displayed her bed as an installation and surrounding it are empty alchohol bottles, condoms, towels, hosiery. It was a statement about her insecurities and portrayed a really personal insight to her life. The work of Chu Yun is almost certainly not a self portrait. For a start, the people that are sleeping are people that she has invited to be the art. Secondly, the sheets are white, the bed is white, the pillows are white. The bed is a blank canvas, the people are the paint.

    I find the work enticing. I can only hope that I have the opportunity to see it in person one day. The voyeuristic “peeping Tom” feeling, I can imagine, would feel very different to just looking at the images. How would you feel if someone was watching you sleep? Sleep is a very personal but also essential part of life. I think Chu Yun’s work makes a big statement about the quotidian routine. People sleep around us all the time but we pay little attention to it.


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