MoMA Fellow Zanna Gilbert Gives Birth in Backseat of an Uber

“have you ever delivered a baby in the backseat of an @uber ? i have.”


Last night, Zanna Gilbert, a post-doctoral fellow in the drawings department at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, aided by her husband, artist David Horvitz, delivered their daughter, Ela Melanie, in the back of a Nissan Altima on the way to Mount Sinai hospital.

“We were past due,” Horvitz told artnet News today. “Zanna was in labor, but we didn’t realize it—we thought she was in pre-labor, so we thought, ‘We’ll go to the hospital now.’ Zanna told me later that she had the urge to push, but she didn’t want to freak anyone out. Then she said, ‘I think I’m going to have the baby now.’ It’s blurry after that, but I remember picking up the baby. I caught it when it was coming out, but it was dark, so I didn’t know it was coming out.”

On Twitter, Horvitz posted an image of the slightly bloodied back seat of the car with the caption, “have you ever delivered a baby in the backseat of an @uber ? i have.”

Horvitz continued: “The car never stopped. When we heard Ela crying, we were like, ‘Okay, she’s breathing, it’s okay.’ The best part was when we were finally getting to the emergency room, we hit a one way street, and would have had to go all the way around. I told the Uber driver, ‘Just drive down the street,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah.’”

Ela Melanie was born at approximately 5:52—Horvitz has a receipt with the exact time and route of their trip—at a healthy 7 pounds, 10 ounces.

For the driver’s part, Uber cleaned his car, as per the New York Post, which first had the story, and gave him a pair of New York Knicks tickets.

According to MoMA’s website, Gilbert’s research for the museum’s art and geography research project, C-MAP: Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives, focuses on “artists’ networks and the transnational circulation of art through the mail.”

The new parents met at No Soul for Sale, an art fair for non-profits, in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in 2010, where Horvitz was exhibiting a project with New York new media art nonprofit Rhizome. Gilbert saw his work and invited him to be part of a show in Colchester, England, where she attended University of Essex.

In 2013, Horvitz, who is known for his mail art and disruptions on Wikipedia, created a 24-hour online project for C-MAP in which he invited artists to share images and brief accounts of their morning meals, called “Artist Breakfast.” Last year, he exhibited “somewhere in between the jurisdiction of time” at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, and has shown work at MoMA, the New Museum, and Art Metropole. He also created a postcard for Art in America magazine last year that was distributed at the NY Art Book Fair.

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