MoMA Walk


MoMA Walk


Audio walk

12 minutes, 50 seconds

Curated by Kynaston McShine with assistant curator Lilian Tone for Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect.

Janet Cardiff

I was visiting the new MoMA recently and I tried to find traces of where my walk once existed. There is a little bit left of the floor tiles that look like clouds. There is one section of the escalators. You can still see the sculpture garden. The two paintings that I talked about are still there, one in a cabinet and one in the next room. But most of the places where I did the walk are now just spaces floating in the air. The narrative was inspired by the theme of the show, that of artists’ being influenced by museum practice and the ideas of collecting.

Starting Point Looking at Charles Willson Peale’s painting. The Artist in His Museum sound of footsteps walking around on wood floor

Older Man Come in.

Janet He holds back the curtain to show me his collection – dead animals, birds, pieces of pottery. I walk into the room, it smells musty. sound of walking in room

Older Man I have a lock of hair from a woman in the 13th century.

Janet It’s the color of mine.

Janet Yes it is. I will show you maps of the stars drawn by an angel. music box, siren… sound of museum

Janet whispering The guard is singing. sound of singing guard Try to follow the sound of my footsteps so that we can stay together.

Janet The floor tiles look like clouds, it’s like I’m floating when I walk. We’re going to go upstairs.

Janet What do I collect ? Pieces of conversations, the sunlight on my kitchen table, the feel of his fingers touching my hair, the smell of my dog’s fur.

Janet Let’s go up the escalator, to the second floor. It’s a nice view of the garden from here. I can see two women sitting, talking to each other by the fountain, another person is reading a book smoking a cigarette. […]

Janet Let’s go on. Turn to the right. I really like this section of small paintings in front of us, especially the ones on the opposite wall. Stop by the Frida Kahlo, the self portrait with her sitting on a chair in a man’s suit.

sound of someone cutting your hair, walking around you

Janet I cut my hair short because it was becoming too precious. Because I wanted to test his love.

audio guide heard about Frida Kahlo … the song “I don’t love you anymore” mixes into conversation of person next to you saying,

Anon Man All you really want is respect

Janet There’s a man next to me looking at the painting. Little white hairs on his neck, and at his temples, wrinkles around his eyes. Now he’s looking at me. Let’s go into the next room.

Related Publications

Janet Cardiff
The Walk Book

Thyssen_Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna in collaboration with Public Art Fund, New York