Björk's latest, Vulnicura, is an album documenting her divorce from artist Matthew Barney, and all the moderate peaks and cavernous valleys divorce entails. While it was not my favorite Björk work musically speaking, it was undeniably one of the most lyrically candid albums she's ever done, in a career that was essentially built on letting direct emotions flow out of her like waves crashing on rainbows. It felt like the open-heart-and-vag surgery this new molten art conveys.
The original album art cast Björk as a sort of La Virgen of a robotic future, masking her with a halo and cape of multicolored cilia (for navigating emotions when you're blind, or course). The vagina-as-heart metaphor was there, too, but not so obviously upfront as on this new cover art, which Björk created with Andrew Thomas Huang and will show up on the physical album sleeve. On "Stonemilker," she sang, "Who is open-chested/ And who has coagulated/ Who can share and/ Who has shot down the chances?" The visual works both ways—her heart has been ripped from her, but her vagina gave birth to a new outlook. (This album; their daughter Ísadóra.)
The singer's artist retrospective at MOMA opens March 7, and the accompanying "Black Lake" trailer also gave us a dose of artistic vaginal birthage, with the artist lamping in a vag-shaped cave wearing conifer branches as electric blue lava flows from her heart and out of her vagine. Who else wishes their period blood looked this cool in black light (and spelled out your own name)? The best part about this direction she's headed is that it takes this tired, '70s body-politic/period-blood genre of feminist art and flips it for a new generation, taking it deeply personal but giving us imagery that reclaims her own body. The cycle of life includes marriages. Björk has been seen out a lot in New York City as of late, hanging out at cool parties like Dark Disco and cool clubs like Kinfolk. I really love the idea that she got a divorce and is now just like, fuck it: I'm going dancing.
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