Black Power Naps: La Biblioteca Is Open


January 19 – Apr 16, 2023


Museum of Modern Art
New York, NY

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Black Power Naps installation. Four adults and one child sleep on colorfully dyed cushions under soft, dappled lighting.

Black Power Naps installation at Performance Space, 2019. Courtesy of Black Power Naps. Photo: Avi Avion

Rest is a luxury for many. Black people in the United States are twice as likely to get insufficient sleep compared with white people. This “sleep gap” identified by researchers is worse for those who are undocumented, disabled, or at lower income levels. Black Power Naps is a project by 2019 Creative Capital Grantee Navild Acosta and Sosa that responds to these conditions and asks, “How can we dream when we don’t sleep?” The artists trace our culture of constant fatigue back to the use of sleep deprivation to control enslaved people in the US. They actively reject this legacy and claim power in rest, inviting you to imagine a world in which leisure, downtime, and quality sleep are available to all.

Visit this interactive installation at MoMA in New York City to practice rest as a form of reparations, or repairs, for historical and ongoing injustices. The space is designed to feel like a ship, rocking you to a state of relaxation on soft mattresses, cushions, rugs, and hand-dyed fabrics. Listen to the calming soundscape that surrounds you, watch projected images, and use the artists’ Traveling Biblioteca library to learn about the politics of rest and refusal.