RARELY COMFORTABLE IN HIS OWN SKIN, Andy Warhol wrote in 1975 that, unlike stars who “turn on” and look “poised and confident” when being filmed, he felt most at ease in slumber—alone, under the covers, and in the dark, on the way to relinquishing consciousness. “Where do I turn on? I turn on when I turn off and go to bed,” he wrote, making a syntactic slip that succinctly describes the animating impulse of his 1963 film Sleep. Nearly six hours of John Giorno snoozing, its only action a twitching knee or a rising abdomen, the movie is a protracted proposition that even an activity as unthinking as sleeping has a performative dimension, indeed a glamorous one—Giorno recalls Warhol asking him before filming, “Would you like to be a movie star?”

Berlin-based American artist Matt Saunders extends the same proposition in his series of paintings “Slept,” 2003, which take Warhol’s film as their

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