The Grand Failure that is The Bjork Retrospective at the MoMA

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BRIAN MILLS

Editor / Founder
Founder & Editor of Fierth.com - I am not a journalist, I am not a blogger, and I am not a writer.

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It pains me deep to have say this, I have been waiting months for what I have termed as Bjork Month in NYC , with her upcoming concerts , release of her tremendous album, Vunicura and the Retrospective at MoMa this was going to be a magical time. Considering the lengths and Bjork’s career from the eighties through today, her collaborations with many major artists and considering this is a retrospective we were expecting quite a show to chronicle her innovations. What we saw was anything but.

The MoMa is to fault here, Not Bjork. I can’t imagine there was a budgetary concern given the fact that Volkswagen is all over this exhibit, and perhaps too much that its own grants pay-for-promo have undercut the presentation itself. On first arrival you are offered two standard museum video viewing rooms , One that plays a loop of Bjork’s classic videos , and a second room which plays a loop of the video for Black Lake, a video from Vulnicura that was commissioned by the MoMa for this exhibit.
Then you are shuffled to a second floor gallery to see the “Visuals, Objects, Costumes, and Instrutments”. The collection of pieces MoMA has curated for this exhibit is on par with something Madame Tussauds Wax Museum could easily pull off. The costume collection consists of 6 dresses , 2 jackets , 2 pair of shoes and 4 head pieces. Amongst a smattering of album cover artwork All layed out in a tight maze like set up, that is loosely guided by an audio tour that museum staff suggests should take 40-45 minutes , whilst the reality is you have seen it all in about 20. There are a few pages of Bjorks handwritten lyrics, and a few of her childhood books as well as the famous Chris Cunningham Robots, and the music box by Matthew Barney featured in Vespertine, but that’s it. This is not a thorough retrospective by any means, Furthermore – the audio tour is based on Volkswagens new in car sound technology , Unfortunately when your viewing an exhibit you want to discuss parts with those around you, this technology does not allow that and doesn’t provide much information rather a romantic mix of sound and words- like a tour guide who talks about nothing and rambles on about it.. The timing of the audio tour will also be a problem when the exhibit hits its peak, there is already a Disney land like cue system in place where you will have to wait to enter. Adding insult to injury there is conveniently a thick book produced by the MoMA for $65 at the exit , which features all of the pieces and facts about Bjork’s life that should have been in the retrospective itself.

Of course it’s thrilling to see these few icons in person, and Bjork herself attended the preview I was able to see yet if not for that I would have actually been aggravated. On leaving the museum that day I felt a deep disappointment For an artist of Bjork’s stature and long career the MoMa has literally done the least it can.

The Bjork “Retrospective” will be on view March 8 through Jun 7th

BJORK RETROSPECTIVE 5

BJORK RETROSPECTIVE 3

BJORK RETROSPECTIVE 4

BJORK RETROSPECTIVE 6

BJORK RETROSPECTIVE 2

The following two tabs change content below.
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BRIAN MILLS

Editor / Founder
Founder & Editor of Fierth.com - I am not a journalist, I am not a blogger, and I am not a writer.
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Founder & Editor of Fierth.com - I am not a journalist, I am not a blogger, and I am not a writer.

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