The Björk retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art is an enterprise fifteen years in the making. MoMA's curator-at-large, Klaus Biesenbach, first spawned the idea of a sweeping tribute to the Icelandic singer/visual artist in 2000, but it wasn't until 2012 that the project was actually green-lit. It took an additional three years for several of MoMA's shimmering white exhibition rooms to be transformed into a meandering Björk-maze, chock-full of her memorabilia and iconography.
Courtesy of Welhart and One Little Indian A still from Björk's Black Lake, directed by Andrew Thomas Huang
It hasn't taken long for art critics to universally pan the exhibit, deriding everything from its physical organization (New York called it "a discombobulated mess") to its lack of thematic cohesion (the Guardian said "it's one part Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exercise, one part science lab, one part synesthesia experiment"). The event, which drew swarms of people to its museum-member preview on Saturday and officially opened to the public March 8, promises to transfix the public for the rest of its residency, regardless of whether its contents are worthy of such curiosity. As this weekend's crowds became thicker by the hour, one thing was clear: None of the negative criticism really matters all that much. The event itself isn't about watching Björk's music videos or fawning over her penchant for bizarre dress. It's about her allure and mystery, and our need to understand her artistic motivations — and the fact that we probably never will.More »