yoko ono news 2019-20


Moscow Mayor official website (October 25th 2019):

“The retrospective of ‘Instructions’ the artist has been creating for 60 years is the display’s highlight. It shows the evolution of Yoko Ono’s invention. You will find among ‘Instructions’ both simple ones, for example, ‘Laugh for a week’, ‘Cough for a year’, and some rather difficult ones, for example, ‘Listen to the sound of rotating Earth’. Some works are based on the text only, while the other ones are artworks that require visitors’ involvement. Yoko Ono suggests adding colours to a white canvas, hammering a nail into a painting, and even getting into a black bag.” (–)

The extensive article goes through her most prevailing topics, such as pacifism, feminism, artist/viewer co-operation in the creation process, and describes her early performance work noting also her background and childhood.

“A few years later, Yoko Ono joined the avant-garde Fluxus movement, which emerged in the late 1950s under the influence of Dadaism ideas advocating the unity of art and life. At the same time, avant-garde American composer La Monte Young, the chief post-modernism theorist artist Josef Beuys (Germany), the video art founder Nam June Paik joined it, too. But Ono’s works were always different from what her Fluxus friends did. She intended not to reflect reality, but to work with its perception. This feature is most clearly visible in her renowned ‘Instructions’ she began to create after moving from Japan to New York. At first, there were cards with the text encouraging viewers to shake hands, imagine the sky, or count all the words in the book. Later, ‘Instructions’ were supplemented with objects to interact directly with: you were welcome to cut holes in the picture, or pile the stones lying scattered on the floor.”

Forbes (December 22nd 2019):

“No question. Yoko Ono has been overlooked and under discussed within serious art scholarship. As a Conceptual artist, she ranks as an equal to John Cage, George Brecht and La Monte Young, all of whom were artistic descendants of Duchamp, and in fact Ono predates the Fluxus camp of anti-art artists. In the public’s consciousness, “Ono’s artistic prowess is overshadowed by the celebrity of her marriage to her third husband and Beatles front-man John Lennon.” Eva Yi Hsuan Lu suggests that “Perhaps it is because of her associative celebrity that Ono’s own career is ignored. However, there is also a fundamental oversimplification of her artistic endeavor.”

At the core of “Sky Is Always Clear” were Ono’s “Instructions,” which Ono referred to as “paintings,” “instruction paintings,” or “unfinished paintings.” Most importantly, Ono intended for others—gallery- and museum-goers, for example—to realize her works. The first instruction was a 1955 work: Lighting Piece: Light a match and watch till it goes out.




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.