A Peek Inside MoMA’s Hotly Anticipated Björk Retrospective

Björk opens this week at MoMA and covers 20 years of the shapeshifting artist’s career in music, art, and design.


An army of Björk takes over the Museum of Modern Art on Sunday. The Icelandic pop star/alien fairy goddess’s hotly anticipated retrospective coincides with the release of her ninth studio album, “Vulnicura,”* and covers 20 years of her shapeshifting career in music, art, design, and fashion.

Björk, Vulnicura, 2015Copyright © 2015 Inez and Vinoodh. Image courtesy of Wellhart/One Little Indian

Organized by MoMA chief curator Klaus Biesenbach, the exhibit includes a new 10-minute video for “Black Lake,” a heartbreaking track off “Vulnicura” about the demise of her longtime relationship with artist Matthew Barney. “My shield is gone,” sings a foliage-clad Björk in a cave, in the video’s trailer.

The Museum of Modern Art, 2015

Key pieces of her otherworldly wardrobe are also on display: the infamous swan dress she wore to the 2001 Oscars and the Tyvek dress she wore on the cover of her 1995 album “Post.” Visitors can delve into Björk’s personal memories: her diaries, starting from age nine, are on view, some collaged with images from the artists Willem de Kooning and Georg Baselitz. In a gallery setting, the musical instruments designed specifically for 2011’s “Biophilia” double as sculptures: there’s a Tesla coil, Gravity Harps, a gameleste (a hybrid gamelan and celesta), and a pipe organ. Only 100 visitors will be let into the exhibit at once, so members of the Björk cult should get in line.

Check out the slide show above for a preview of the exhibit.

Björk is on view at the Museum of Modern Art from March 8 to June 7.

An earlier version of this article misspelled the title of Björk’s new album. We regret the error.

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.