Bjork Retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art

Photo courtesy of the author

All photos courtesy of the author

We approached the Bjork exhibition with much skepticism as the majority of the reviewers had little praise for it. The first work we viewed on the third floor “Black Lake” commissioned by MoMA was a riveting and heart breaking performance. The innovative music blends haunting techno rhythms with classical arrangements to echo the loss of her partner Matthew Barney and her utter despair of being alone. Moving to the second floor where tickets are required to enter, the retrospective of her videos begins showing twenty years of Bjork’s oeuvre. The videos are mesmerizing, moving, and genius. Had MoMA merely shown this commission and the music videos perhaps the show would have been better received.
Possibly, what many critics overlooked is that Bjork is a multi accomplished artist whose career goes way beyond being a talented musician/performer. Her artistic practice pervades all aspects of her being, as is viewed in the creation of the instruments in the lobby, a gravity harp and Tesla coil that play her songs, as well as her illustrations of her self-composed lyrics and her avant-garde fashion.
Why not have a museum have an extraordinary exhibition of an artist that exists outside of the audience’s expectation?