MoMA Announces Celebrity Programming in Effort to Reach New Audiences

Tilda Swinton will soon be joined by other celebrities at MoMA (photo via republicx.tumblr.com)
Tilda Swinton will soon be joined by other celebrities at MoMA (photo via republicx.tumblr.com)

In light of the media sensation caused by Tilda Swinton’s “The Maybe” performance at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the museum announced today that it is expanding its celebrity-based programming for 2013, which will include works by Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, Snooki, the body of Michael Jackson, and the ubiquitous James Franco.

“We are eager to attract new types of museum viewers,” MoMA director Glenn Lowry said during the afternoon press conference beside Swinton’s “The Maybe” display, which features the celebrity fast asleep under glass. “Be quiet and don’t wake her,” Lowry said halfway through his presentation.

The ambitious new programming will include Jersey Shore‘s Snooki in a dunk tank, where visitors will be forced to have a shot of Everclear before attempting to dunk the reality TV star; Lindsay Lohan walking around the museum pickpocketing visitors; and the birth of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby in the MoMA atrium, expected to happen sometime in July.

A rendering of Snooki's "Shot" (2013) in MoMA atrium (image courtesy MoMA)
An artist’s rendering of Snooki’s “Shot” (2013) in the MoMA atrium (image courtesy MoMA)

One of the most controversial additions to the program is the excavation of Michael Jackson’s body, which will be placed in a makeshift mausoleum in the museum’s contemporary galleries beside a sculpture by Jeff Koons, “Michael Jackson and Bubbles” (1988); a 1984 print by Andy Warhol of the pop singer that appeared on the cover of Time magazine that year; and various photographs by Annie Liebovitz that were taken at the height of Jackson’s fame in the 1980s.

“We are always looking for ways to bring context into the galleries, and this appears to be a great juxtaposition that will illuminate the hegemony of fame and the decline of Western civilization,” explained MoMA curator Sabine Respini, who has been spearheading the initiative.

Included on the roster is James Franco, who is no stranger to art-world watchers. It’s unclear what he will do for his performance, but rumors suggest he may use the opportunity to deaccession the collection as a form of institutional critique. “He’s brilliant,” said one MoMA insider who wished to remain anonymous. “No one has thought about deaccessioning our entire collection this way. It is edgy and will ensure his place in the history books.”

The new series, titled Starstruck, will be the first of its kind in the world and begins May 1 with Snooki’s “Shot” (2013).

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