Lacking any other contextualisation, biographical or historical introduction, the exhibition presupposes prior knowledge of the prolific musician. Unfortunately this renders the experience inaccessible and devoid of meaning to an uninitiated viewer. Those unfamiliar with Björk might consider the experience as hero worship. The knockoff Madame Tussaud mannequins did not help either. As a fan of Björk's music, I revelled each time a segment of a familiar song played, but found the audio guide's story narration to be annoying like an AM radio station I couldn't turn off. I was grateful to see her costumes in person, but all the exhibition ignited in me was the desire to listen to her music while going through the exhibition.
Although Björk has performed at MoMA and previously collaborated in museum educational events for children, a traditional career retrospective for a musician always feels like an odd marriage. Several museums have managed to make successful retrospectives of musicians' careers. Effective examples include the "David Bowie is" at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville. To make a career retrospective of a musician engaging and enjoyable I find it necessary to include more biographical background information, ephemera from various archives, and access to the music itself. Unfortunately MoMA decided to go in a less traditional direction that was not as compelling to a wide audience.
- J.E. Molly Seegers