Matthew Barney Sues Björk for Custody of Daughter

A failed MoMA restrospective may be the least of Björk's worries.

Matthew Barney, Björk, and their daughter, Isadora, in happier times.
Matthew Barney, Björk, and their daughter, Isadora, in happier times.

It would seem that Icelandic songstress Björk’s just can’t catch a break: in the wake of the musician-cum-artist’s critically lampooned retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (see Ladies and Gentlemen, the Björk Show at MoMA Is Bad, Really Bad, MoMA Curator Klaus Biesenbach Should Be Fired Over Björk Show Debacle, and Art World Reacts to Christian Viveros-Fauné’s Call for Klaus Biesenbach to Resign), her ex Matthew Barney has recently filed a lawsuit over the custody of their 12-year-old daughter, Isadora.

In his complaint, filed on March 31 against Björk Gunmundsdottir, as per the court’s website, Barney claims that he is not getting his fair share of time with Isadora, and that the couple’s daughter would prefer to split her time evenly with both parents.

The artist accuses Björk of “effectively sacrificing Doa’s [Isadora’s] emotional well-being in favor of her own selfish desires” in the suit, reports Page Six. The couple broke up in 2013 after some 13 years together.

Also per Page Six, Barney claims that Björk’s “self-focused mindset . . . flows, in part, from her belief that as Doa’s mother, she has far greater rights than I do as Doa’s father; and, in part, from her insistence that I am solely to blame for the breakdown of our relationship and the end of our intact family.”

A 10-minute-long Barney Diss Track

Björk’s just-released album Vulnicura (see Björk Will Release New Album Timed With MoMA Retrospective) is anchored by a 10-minute-long Barney diss track, “Black Lake,” which includes the lines “family was always our sacred mutual mission/which you abandoned.”

The New York portion of Björk’s Vulnicura world tour concludes this week (see Björk to Play Six “Intimate” NYC Shows This Spring).

According to the suit, Isadora currently spends the fall in her mother’s native Iceland, while returning to New York in the spring to attend St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights. Björk also splits her time between Reykjavik and New York.

artnet News reached out to Barney’s lawyers at Mayerson Abramowitz & Kahn, a New York–based firm specializing in matrimonial and family law, but the firm declined to comment on the case.


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