yoko ono news summer 2019

©MdbK, Yoko Ono ”Peace is Power”


Syracuse.com (August 30th 2019):

”If you attend the Yoko Ono art exhibition that opens this weekend at the Everson Museum of Art, don’t expect to just stand around looking at pictures or objects. Expect to paint on walls, piece together broken bits of china and hammer nails on a canvas. Even getting in to the exhibit requires making it through a bit of a maze. “A lot of art is implicit — you look at the pieces, take it in and think about it,” said DJ Hellerman, who helped curate the show. “With Yoko Ono, it’s more explicit — it involves the art, the art institution and communities. The public is required to be involved.”


From the museum press release: ”Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933. A survivor of the trauma inflicted on Japan during World War II, she moved to the United States in 1953 during a period of surging nationalism, consumerism, and anti-Japanese sentiment. During this time, Ono became a central figure within New York’s downtown scene and became close collaborators with artist George Maciunas, the founder of Fluxus. Many avant-garde intellectuals, artists, composers, and writers gathered regularly at Ono’s Chambers Street loft for experimental performances by groundbreaking artists like La Monte Young, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Terry Jennings, Jackson Mac Low, Richard Maxfield, Henry Flynt, Joseph Byrd, Simone Forti, and Robert Morris. Here, Ono realized some of her earliest conceptual works that would greatly influence the trajectory of art, film, and music.

Throughout the 1960s, Ono had significant solo exhibitions in the United States, Japan, and in England—including the AG Gallery in New York City and the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo. She performed at the 83rd Fluxus Concert: Fluxorchestra at Carnegie Hall, In 1966, Ono performed Cut Piece in Kyoto and Tokyo, exhibited her work at the Judson Church, and participated in the first Destruction In Art Symposium organized by Gustav Metzger in London. Ono met John Lennon when he visited her exhibition Yoko at Indica, at the Indica Gallery in London.

Forty-eight years after the Everson hosted This is Not Here, Ono’s first museum retrospective, YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE presents her enduring artistic work devoted to healing human connections and exposing social and political injustices. Spanning more than six decades from germinal early instruction pieces to recent, large-scale architectural installations, YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE traces Ono’s experimental approach to language, art, and participation as a means of contributing to a more accepting and peaceful world.”

The related events of the museum include a particularly interesting event on October 24th 2019: This Is Not Here: A Look Back at Yoko Ono’s 1971 Exhibition. It’s a lecture with rarely seen archival materials relating to the making of Yoko Ono’s exhibition at the Everson in 1971.



From the press release: ”Showcasing Yoko Ono’s work in the city of Cambridge for the first time ever, the exhibition YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Ono’s first visit to Cambridge and her debut public concert with John Lennon at Cambridge University’s Lady Mitchell Hall on 2 March 1969.The Cambridge-wide, year-long exhibition YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… will be inaugurated with the unveiling of a historic plaque in the foyer of the Lady Mitchell Hall on 2 March 2019, which will commemorate Ono’s and Lennon’s concert and preserve a hidden gem of Cambridge’s social history. Also in the foyer will be the live recording of their concert ‘Cambridge 1969’ for visitors to listen to until the end of the year.

Featuring over ninety early, recent and new works, most of which are participatory and will evolve as the exhibition unfolds, YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… will offer the opportunity to immerse ourselves fully within Ono’s multifaceted world, demonstrating the wide-ranging scope of her artistic practice, spanning an array of media including text, painting, sculpture, installation, performance, event, music, film and video.

A diverse programme of events will take place at Lady Mitchell Hall, The Heong Gallery, Howard Theatre, Alison Richard Building, Ruskin Gallery, Mumford Theatre and Cambridge Junction as well as many public sites in the city. ”

YOKO ONO SKY PIECES at The Heong Gallery during June 15th – October 10th 2019
It fills The Heong Gallery with pieces of the sky, featuring over thirty works in different media. The central piece of the exhibition is a new configuration of Sky TV (1966/2019), in which a closed-circuit camera will record the sky, transmitting real-time views through a network of twenty-five television monitors into the gallery.
A review by Cambridge Independent

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (’Sky Piece To Jesus Christ’) at The Heong Gallery on June 15th 2019
In Yoko Ono’s Sky Piece To Jesus Christ (1965/2019), a group of musicians play a score, whilst another group of performers begin to wrap medical gauze around each member of the orchestra along with their instruments, as well as the conductor. In Cambridge, Yoko Ono’s Sky Piece To Jesus Christ (1965/2019) will be performed by students and staff from Anglia Ruskin University, University of Cambridge and Kingston University London, conducted by Dr Paul Rhys, and directed by Gabriella Daris.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (’FLY’ and ’Apotheosis’) at The Heong Gallery on June 21st 2019
A screening of Ono’s and Lennon’s films.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (Pieces from ’Grapefruit’ and other works) at Alison Richard Building during September 19th – November 1st 2019
The exhibition brings together Yoko Ono’s participatory installations, Mirror Piece (2017/2019) and Imagine Map Piece (2003/2019), along with thirty-six Instruction Pieces from Ono’s artist book, Grapefruit (1964) and four Word Pieces.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (’Arising’, ’Mend Piece’, ’Cut Piece’) at Ruskin Gallery during October 3rd – November 3rd 2019
This exhibition at Cambridge’s Ruskin Gallery explores themes of violence and healing, comprising two participatory installations: in ARISING (2013/2019), featuring the namesake film, the walls will be gradually covered by the submitted testimonials in response to an open call by the artist for women to send in a testament of harm inflicted upon them for simply being a woman, whilst Mend Piece (1966/2019) will invite visitors to ‘mend’ broken pieces of porcelain as a metaphor for individual participation in collective memory and by way of mending the world together.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (’Cut Piece’) at Ruskin Gallery on October 3rd 2019
First performed in 1964 by Yoko Ono, in Cut Piece, the performer kneels with a pair of scissors in front of her and invites members of the audience to cut a portion of her clothing off and take it with them. On October 3rd 2019, at the Ruskin Gallery, Cut Piece will be performed by dancer and choreographer Fukiko Takase, wearing a dress designed by Thanasis Babanis.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (Symposium) at The Heong Gallery on October 3rd 2019
This one-day international symposium brings together a range of curators and scholars from the fields of art history, art theory, film studies, literature and philosophy in order to explore the many facets of Yoko Ono’s work to date.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (Curator-led Tour: Gabriella Daris) on October 4th 2019
Starting from Alison Richard Building (at 1-4 pm, free), art historian and curator Gabriella Daris leads a walking tour of the exhibition YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… across the city of Cambridge.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (Yoko Ono & John Lennon – Rape) at Anglia Ruskin University on October 22nd 2019
Drawn from Yoko Ono’s score, FILM NO. 5/”RAPE” (or CHASE) from 1968, “RAPE” was made in London in 1969, and directed by Yoko Ono and John Lennon. Shot mainly in close-up with a hand-held camera, the film generates some of the fear provoked by the press that surrounded Ono and Lennon during the height of their fame.
Screening of “RAPE” (1969), followed by a panel discussion with Dr Tanya Horeck, Reader in Film, Media and Culture, ARU and Dr Prerona Prasad, Exhibitions and Programming Manager, Heong Gallery, moderated by Chris Owen, Honorary Visiting Senior Fellow, ARU, and Q&A.

YOKO ONO: LOOKING FOR… (”Toilet Thoughts-Film No.3”) across the city of Cambridge during March 2nd – December 31st 2019
Posted at different stages throughout the year, Yoko Ono’s Toilet Thoughts-Film No. 3 (1968/2019) is an instruction for a conceptual film, which involves putting a poster in toilets across various sites of a city, and periodically filming the posters.



From the press release: ”Interventions/2 is a series of avant-garde films by artist and activist, Yoko Ono. The films will play in rooms throughout the Georgian House.

The films include Cut Piece (1964/5), Eyeblink (1966), Freedom (1971), Fly (1970 directed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono) and Sky TV (1966/2019).

Arising – a more recent work addressing the abuse of women will also feature within the exhibition. It was first exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2013.

As part of the show, we invite visitors to write their personal wishes for peace and tie them to a tree branch. Wish Trees have been an integral part to many of Ono’s exhibitions around the world.

This exhibition is the first time that Yoko Ono has done a solo show in Bristol.”



BBC (July 4th 2019):

”Bells will ring out to open the Manchester International Festival after Yoko Ono called on thousands of people to make ”an incredible vibration”. Festival organisers hope a ”people’s orchestra of bells” will take part in her event, titled Bells For Peace.

”When I was a little girl and we wanted to celebrate, we always made sure to use the bell,” the Tokyo-born artist said. ”Peace is a celebration.”

Celebrating peace will be noisy, though, and ear-plugs will be provided. The venue for the event, Cathedral Gardens, is a stone’s throw from Manchester Arena, where 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing after an Ariana Grande concert in 2017.

Ono, 86, has been unable to travel to Manchester, but will appear on screens to lead the attendees through a series of instructions from 18:00 BST before the massed ring-a-thon.”

(..) ”Bells For Peace co-ordinator Emily Lim said the artist and musician ”didn’t want this to feel like something people were passive in”.

Lim said: ”She doesn’t feel or think of peace as a passive thing. She wants this moment to feel like something that is really active and energised, and that people feel like ’we have to do something’ to be part of this moment of action for peace.

”People should expect something quite physical, and it’s very accessible, everyone can do it. But the ringing of our bells is going to feel like something that takes effort, and our ambition is that it’s a moment that people feel really united in.”

From the original invitation to the peace event:

”People across Greater Manchester are currently designing and creating their own unique handcrafted ceramic bells at a series of special workshops. Join them on the day to hear them – or bring a bell of your own and join in!”

‘Come and join together to send a message of peace to the world. The beauty of this piece will break the sky and more. Ring for peace! PEACE is POWER! I love you all.’ – Yoko Ono

Emily Lim – Event Director
Shizuka Hariu & Shin Hagiwara – Site Designers
Ian William Galloway – Video Designer
Ben and Max Ringham – Sound Designers

Ceramic Bells – Produced by communities across Greater Manchester, facilitated by Standard Practice.

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival. Supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation as part of My Festival.

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The Fondation Phi: ”This major exhibition in two parts will underscore the cornerstones of action, participation, and imagination in the work of Yoko Ono. Taking place in both of the Fondation’s buildings, the first part, The instructions of Yoko Ono will focus on her ‘instruction’ works that emphasize the role of the visitor in their completion. Among works to be presented are text–based instructions such as Lighting Piece (1955), as well as participatory works including Mending Piece (1966), Horizontal Memories (1997), and Arising (2013). Also included is Water Event (1971/2016), which will invite the participation of 12 artists from Montreal and other parts of Canada.”

”The second part of the exhibition, The art of John and Yoko will present the arc of collaborative art projects for peace undertaken by Yoko Ono and John Lennon. Among these is the Acorn project, the War is Over peace campaign, and the Montreal bed-in, which will mark its fifty-year anniversary on May 26, 2019. Through an approach that spotlights storytelling, this part of the exhibition will feature a variety of stories from people who participated in the bed-in, told in their own voices and words. These often moving accounts testify to the impact of what became a legendary and historic event, one which remains a key reference for the indivisibility of art and life, as well as the importance of non-violent action to inspire political and social change.”

”Ultimately, this exhibition wishes to impart Yoko Ono’s massive impact on contemporary art practices, on art reception, and on activism through art. The urgency and spirit of her work remain pertinent and perhaps more important than ever.”

Photos from the exhibition by Yoko Ono



Wish tree in 2016: ”Make a wish.”

Yorkshire Evening Post (March 28th 2019):

”The building officially opened with an exhibition by internationally renowned multimedia artist and peace activist Yoko Ono. The exhibition – Yoko Ono at Leeds – features a series of installation-based works.”


Image: Keith McMillan © Yoko Ono

Museum of Liverpool: ”Taking a chronological journey, the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ’n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ’Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.

Through interviews, quotes and lyrics, the story of their personal and creative relationship along with their political activism and peace campaigning, is told in their own words for the very first time.

From the intimate to the iconic, the exhibition brings together unmissable objects and artworks. A rolling programme of the films that John and Yoko created, and music videos made under Yoko’s supervision are being shown. A music room, overlooking the Mersey with the couple’s albums played for visitors, features album cover art.”


yoko ono news 2


Image: Maria Jose Govea For Girlschool

Variety (March 23rd 2019):

”Yoko Ono was — is — nothing if not an artist of many facets, as someone who started out in the most avant-garde corners of the visual and performance art worlds and ended up having a flair for conventional pop songwriting. Both sides, the disrupter and the sentimentalist, were celebrated in a wide-ranging tribute concert Friday at L.A.’s Walt Disney Hall, where a cast of dozens of women participated in “Breathwatchlistentouch: The Work and Music of Yoko Ono,” as the 86-year-old artist looked on from a few rows back.”

”It was all-female, but not “all-star,” as Girlschool LA, which produced the show in collaboration with the L.A. Phil and the Fluxus Festival, drew on a satisfyingly eclectic mix of mostly local talent for the lineup. It did wrap up with a couple of big rock ‘n’ roll names. One was Garbage’s Shirley Manson, who chose a pair of songs that encapsulated Ono’s most angst-ridden and domestically tranquil sides. The other was St. Vincent, who eschewed music altogether in favor of a sexually explicit comedy bit — a puzzling performance that could only be understood as an attempt to re-embrace Ono as less of a cuddly figure and more of an OG provocateur.”

”As much as the show wanted to pay tribute to Ono’s envelope-pushing early years, it became clear from the late ‘70s onward that she really sought to be a uniter, not a divider, emphasizing messages of peace, hope and love over outlier art-world signifiers. And so the inevitable finale was an audience sing-along of “Imagine,” the Lennon song that Ono was recently officially given co-writing credit on, with Manson saying she was responsible for “the philosophy behind it and many of the ideas and I’m sure probably many of the lyrics. We’re going to sing her song, the song of the 20th century.”

Given the composition of the cast and crew honoring Ono as an ultimately triumphant underdog, there seemed to be an additional unspoken message: Imagine the future is female.”


Image: Gerry Deiter

Hürriyet Daily News (April 2nd 2019):

”Fifty years after John Lennon and Yoko Ono famously staged a honeymoon ”bed-in” for peace in an Amsterdam hotel, a Dutchman has unearthed 30 minutes of color footage of the event from his cellar.”

”The European leg of their honeymoon, which included an unusual press conference in Vienna with the glamour pair obscured inside a giant ”bag,” was a huge media event, each step captured by photographers and videographers. This included a Dutch team shooting footage for a two-part, 84-minute documentary, a kind of video diary filmed at the pair’s request.

It was broadcast only once, shortly after the honeymoon, and shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival the same year before disappearing into the archives of broadcaster KRO, where Jan Hovers was employed in the 1980s.

During a major cleanup of used film reels, he stumbled upon a tin marked: ”Mr. & Mrs. Lennon’s Honeymoon” among others earmarked for the rubbish heap.

”I asked if I could keep it and they said: ’No problem, it will all be destroyed anyway’,” Hovers told the Nieuwsuur current affairs program broadcast April 1. He said he watched the footage with great pleasure, but then ”forgot about it.”


Hyperallergic (March 30th 2019):

”By the time John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their Wedding Album on the Beatles’ Apple Records label in late 1969, seven months after marrying in a low-key civil ceremony in the tiny, British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, the Liverpool-born Lennon, then one of the most famous rock stars in the world, knew that even his most off-the-cuff pronouncements would be gobbled up and analyzed by the media as emblematic reflections of the Zeitgeist.”

”Now, 50 years after Lennon and Ono, each fresh from a divorce, became husband and wife on March 20, 1969, the US-based labels Secretly Canadian and Chimera Music are jointly re-releasing Wedding Album, its vinyl-LP and compact-disc formats complete with faithful reproductions of the original vinyl record’s innovative packaging.”

”Throughout 1969, as the costly, aimless war in Vietnam dominated the headlines, Lennon and Ono were busy with collaborative artistic and musical projects, including the production of Wedding Album. It became the third of the experimental recordings they released in album form, following Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (1968) and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (1969), since they had first met in London three years earlier.”

John Lennon and Yoko Ono ”Der Krieg Ist Aus” 1969 ”War Is Over”. Berlin Wall, Germany. Photo ©Yoko Ono

”In a 2014 article in Gibraltar Magazine, Charlie Galliano, the clerk in the British territory’s Magistrates Court who oversaw their marriage proceedings, remembered that the Beatles’ manager, Peter Brown, had contacted him to schedule a date.

Galliano stated, “I was sworn to total secrecy, as the couple wanted to avoid press coverage with hordes of journalists and photographers.” On the day of the event, Lennon, Ono, Brown, and a sole, accompanying photographer arrived on a privately chartered airplane. Galliano recalled, “Although the doors of the marriage registry were open, no one attended, not even a single member of the media[,] such was the effect of the total news blackout.”

”In the pre-live-streaming era, the album’s unusual packaging offered the next best thing to having been at the artists’ secretive marriage ceremony. (It may also be seen as another example of the influence Ono brought to her collaborative projects with Lennon from the world of conceptual art, in which photographs, videos, audio recordings, and/or artist-published materials served as tangible documentation for many an ephemeral “happening” or site-specific piece. Earlier in her career, Ono and her fellow participants in Fluxus, an international community of avant-garde artists, had produced printed cards, posters, and other multiples, both as documentation and as art objects in themselves.)”

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the Rock of Gibraltar.
Wedding Day March 20, 1969. Photo David Nutter ©Yoko Ono

”On Wedding Album, Ono chats with a reporter who stops by the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam to check out his first-ever “Bed-In.”

“Let’s go back to the future,” she says, “which is mainly why we’re here [doing this event]. We want to talk mainly to young people all over the world, because those are the people who are going to be the next generation. They are going to be the next world. And we just want to say that we are with them.”

yoko ono news


Huffington Post (April 11th 2019):

”While many Asian Americans have found a role model in Sandra Oh, the actress has a hero of her own. And like most people meeting their idols, she freaked out.

On the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the “Killing Eve” actress admitted she burst into tears when meeting artist and icon Yoko Ono at the airport.

“There’s a deep Asianness … where your body just goes into respect. And then coming up to her, I didn’t know I could bow so low,” Oh recalled of the encounter.

When Ono agreed to take a photo with the actress, Oh said she “burst out crying.”

The “Killing Eve” star explained to Colbert that ahead of her “Saturday Night Live” gig in March, she shot some promos for the episode, posing as several iconic Asian Americans, including Ono. So when she saw the artist at the airport, she got emotional. ”

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Montreal, 1969. Photograph by Gerry Deiter.


Time (March 25th 2019):

“We sent out a card: ‘Come to John and Yoko’s honeymoon: a bed-in, Amsterdam Hotel,’” Lennon was quoted recalling in The Beatles Anthology. Surrounded by flowers, they took to their bed in their hotel suite in Amsterdam. He says the media thought they were going to “make love in public,” based on the fact that the art for their 1968 album Two Virgins featured the couple naked, but in fact they wore pajamas.

“We knew whatever we did was going to be in the papers. We decided to utilize the space we would occupy anyway, by getting married, with a commercial for peace,” Lennon said. “We would sell our product, which we call ‘peace.’ And to sell a product you need a gimmick, and the gimmick we thought was ‘bed.’ And we thought ‘bed’ because bed was the easiest way of doing it, because we’re lazy.”

(..) ”For a MoMA retrospective on her career, she recalled, “John and I thought after Bed-In, ‘The war is going to end.’ How naïve we were, you know? But the thing is, things take time. I think it’s going to happen. I mean, that I think we’re going to have a peaceful world. But it’s just taking a little bit more time than we thought then.”


DW.com (April 3rd 2019):

”Yoko Ono has over 2,000 square meters (around 21,500 square feet) and three floors of exhibition space in the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts at her disposal. ”Yoko Ono. Peace is Power” is the most extensive retrospective of the Japanese-American artist’s work in Germany to date. As curator, Ono’s long-time friend and confidante Jon Hendricks has been on site to ensure that everything is set up in the spirit of the eccentric artist.

On display are smaller objects, space-filling installations and sculptures by the 86-year-old Ono. With this one-woman show, the museum is showcasing Ono’s entire artistic oeuvre since the 1960s. All sorts of media, including films, video works and her solo albums, are included in the exhibition, with rarely shown drawings also on display in Leipzig.”

”As a young woman, she returned to the US and began studying at Sarah Lawrence College, just north of New York City. She was interested in philosophy, art and music composition, but she didn’t last long in a college setting. She quit her studies in 1959 and immersed herself into the art scene of the Big Apple.”

Helmets/Pieces of Sky by Yoko Ono.

”As an artist, she began working in experimental film and music, and became involved in the Fluxus movement, with its interdisciplinary community of artists, composers and poets who performed around the world in impromptu ”happenings” in the 1960s and 70s. One of the leading figures in the movement was American composer John Cage, whom Ono accompanied on his tour of Japan in 1962.”

”After Lennon’s death, Yoko Ono made her first public appearance as an artist again in 1995 — in her home country of Japan. Various museums in Germany and Great Britain showed retrospectives of her work in 2008 and 2009. In 2009, the Venice Biennale honored the Japanese artist with the Golden Lion for her life’s work. In 2012 she received the Oskar Kokoschka Award in Vienna.”

”For her ”Yoko Ono. Peace is Power” exhibition in Leipzig, the Japanese artist has invited German artists to develop an object which she will then fill with water. This is part of her performative concept, with which she turns her exhibits into ”joint works of art.” She developed such a ”water event” back in in 1971 for an exhibition in Syracuse, New York.

Whether Yoko Ono will personally come from New York to Leipzig for the opening remains to be seen. The exhibition at the Museum für Bildende Kunst in Leipzig will be on show through July 7.”

Yoko Ono requests photographs of women’s eyes for Leipzig retrospective
”For the project Arising, she asked “women of all ages, from all countries of the world” to send “a testament of harm done to you for being a woman” and a photograph, of just their eyes, to be exhibited as part of an installation that she says will travel on from Leipzig around the world.”