MoMA's Bjork Retrospective

I was thrilled when I heard that MoMA was going to have a Bjork retrospective. I had been anxiously awaiting the retrospective for what felt like forever but I was a little disappointed with the result. Maybe I just hyped it up too much. I will say that I have already gone twice since it has opened two weeks ago and will probably go again. I have also been listening to Bjork's music non-stop since going to the exhibit and discovered a couple new songs. That's a sign of an at least partially successful exhibit. Right?

I just wanted more than MoMA offered. A recent article in the New York Times made a great point in saying that Bjork's work is definitely museum worthy, but MoMA proved to not be up for the task. The exhibit really deserved more space. Or at least more content in the timed "Songlines" gallery portion. The Black Lake music video and the music video screenings are great and well worth the time.

On my first visit I was overjoyed at the prospect of finally seeing the retrospective but was disappointed when I arrived to find out that there was only two video rooms and a timed exhibit. All of my research on the exhibit led me to believe that there would be more, or at least an un-timed portion where you could just see Bjork's costumes.WRONG.

I personally hate timed tickets, I'm busy and this is New York, I want to go see something when I get there to see it! I mean the Black Lake music video was amazing (at one point she is in an open field with a beautiful costume and I just felt emotional, it was so breathtaking) and I loved the music video reel (I literally stayed in there for an hour and half) but the timed exhibit with mandatory audio guide was just annoying. There wasn't enough content in each room for the long length of time the audio guide allotted. Plus I hate guided anything, let me go at my own pace and do my own thing please. It is also tough if you are with someone, this was a very solo in-your-own-space kind of experience.

During my second visit I was a bit smarter and got my timed ticket before heading off to another hour in the music video room. The music videos where great and the room had comfortable cushions to relax on. My only issue with this portion of the exhibit was the fact that the names of the videos played were not noticeably displayed, and I was really looking for them. I did finally notice the plaque during my second visit because it was too crowded to enter the video room. It was outside of one of the two entrances of the room, it was completely unnoticeable. If MoMA want their audience to further engage with Bjork, especially new visitors, they need the video information more visibly displayed.

Overall I did enjoy the exhibit because it helped me reconnect with my love of Bjork. I was excited to see her famous swan costume and some props from her music videos. However, if you don't already love Bjork, this exhibit won't persuade you to love her. I still suggest everyone see the exhibit.

  I think the issues were just administrative and curatorial related, not Bjork's quality of work. I did not feel I learned more about Bjork's work and it was also not much of an experience. Her retrospective deserves more than costumes and prop displays. Again, I suggest everyone see the exhibit even if only for the amazing videos and a couple cool costumes. I know I'll be going again to chill in the cozy music video screening room.

This was my favorite music video prop, it was from the "Wanderlust" video. I really really wanted to touch it! Don't worry I didn't.


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