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. 

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 Musuem

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. §

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