The exhibition at MoMA draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and innovative projects and her eight full-length albums to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, and costumes.
The exhibition is conceived and organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large at MoMA and Director of MoMA PS1, and is made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America.
The product of a close collaboration between Mr. Biesenbach and Björk, the exhibition brings together a chronology of sounds, videos, objects, instruments, costumes, and images that express the artist’s overarching project: her music. Chronologically, the exhibition begins with the release of Björk’s first mature solo album, Debut, in 1993, and proceeds through her career up to her most recent work in 2015, including a new video and music installation commissioned especially for the Museum, Black Lake (which also appears on her new album, Vulnicura).
Mr. Biesenbach states: “An uncompromisingly original and highly accomplished auteur and solo artist in her composing, singing, and music, Björk is notably open to collaboration and interpretation of her work, extending even into education and audience participation. Over the decades she has also developed a highly collaborative practice to visualize and express her music and lyrics. Working with photographers, film- and video-makers, designers, architects, craftsmen, and inventors, she crosses over into all categories of high and low culture, digital and analog, into most creative fields.”
The retrospective is composed of multiple layers, within the Museum lobbies on the first floor and the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium on the second floor. In the lobbies, four musical instruments from Biophilia are on view, programmed to play music and sounds composed by Björk. The instruments include a Tesla coil, Gravity Harps designed by Andrew Cavatorta, a gameleste, an instrument that is a combination of a gamelan and a celesta, made by Björgvin Tómasson and Matt Nolan, and a pipe organ, also designed by Tómasson. Björk’s integration of music, design, and digital technology is consistently groundbreaking, and the Biophilia app, acquired by MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, is the first app to enter the collection. The Biophilia app is on view in the third-floor Architecture and Design galleries.