Maurizio Cattelan invites the who’s who of culture to read bedtime stories

The subversive Italian artist has recruited the likes of Iggy Pop, Takashi Murakami and Joan Jonas to read bedtime stories in a new digital project for the New Museum

Popsicle photos of Iggy Pop and puppies
Iggy Pop opted for a humorously touching love letter to a long-lost dog in his bedtime story. Image by Maurizio Cattelan; courtesy of the New Museum
(Image credit: Maurizio Cattelan)

Few things bring more comfort than hunkering down with a good read, which is what makes Maurizio Cattelan’s latest endeavour – an imaginative collection of readings from the who’s who of the contemporary art and cultural world, that is currently being shared by New York’s New Museum online, just so captivating. Conceived by Cattelan as a way to stay together during these long periods of social isolation, ‘Bedtime Stories’ sees the artist invite friends, fellow artists and performers whom he admires to read a sentence, passage or chapter from a favourite book, in a bid to keep us company. 

As part of a series of new digital initiatives that New Museum is presenting online, ‘Bedtime Stories’ sees the likes of Iggy Pop, Rashid Johnson, Maya Lin and Laure Prouvost narrate passages from existing works or even original writings in an unfiltered fashion. Recorded by the artists on their phones or laptops while in their homes or studios, the intimate readings are surprisingly poignant and evocative, in spite of their lo-fi nature. 

A bed with bed and wood headboard featuring white pillows, white sheets and white cover covering a cucumber.

Maurizio Cattelan’s ’Bedtime Stories’ project enlists friends, artists and performers to keep us company during days of isolation. Image by Maurizio Cattelan, courtesy of the New Museum

(Image credit: Maurizio Cattelan)

The series kicked off last week with Iggy Pop reading a humour-tinged love letter to a long-lost dog in his unmistakable gravelly tone, with new instalments revealed on the museum’s website and social media channels daily. Since then, Tacita Dean has recited an excerpt of a particularly reflective Thomas Hardy poem, David Byrne has read a passage from Milton Rokeach’s psychiatric study ‘Three Christs of Ypsilanti’ and Laure Prouvost has shared a work of her own creation, offering a peek into the surreal literary landscape within her mind. 

Scheduled to continue through the end of June, expect to hear the voices of Marilyn Minter, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Ugo Rondinone, Michael Stipe and Rachel Feinstein, along with many others, add to this quirky compendium of strange and inspiring tales for your amusement.

A lady in white blouse with left hand in the air and broom sticks covering the top half of her face (mid nose to top of head). Photographed against a white background

Image accompanying Laure Prouvost’s bedtime story. Courtesy the artist and the New Museum

(Image credit: Laure Prouvost)


A new instalment of ‘Bedtime Stories’ will be unveiled each day until the end of June 2020 on The New Museum's website.

Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.