Image courtesy of New Museum.

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As part of its series of new digital initiatives, the New Museum presents “Bedtime Stories,” a project initiated by the artist Maurizio Cattelan.

Inviting friends and other artists and performers he admires to keep us company, 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 favorite book–a sentence, passage, chapter, or more–to be shared with online audiences. Some chose to read existing works, others to read their own writings, still others to create impromptu performances. Whether drawn from memory, imagination, or cherished volumes kept close at hand, the recordings by artists were captured quickly in an unfiltered fashion on phones or laptops in their homes or studios around the world.

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. 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. The series kicks off with a contribution from musician Iggy Pop reading a humorously touching love letter to a long-lost dog. 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.