Since emerging onto the international art scene in the early 1960s, Yoko Ono has made profound contributions to visual art, performance, filmmaking, and experimental music. Born in Tokyo in 1933, she moved with her family to New York in the mid-1950s and enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College. Over the next decade she lived in New York, Tokyo, and London, greatly influencing the international development of Fluxus and Conceptual art.

Ono’s earliest works were often based on instructions that she communicated to the public in verbal or written form. Painting to Be Stepped On (1960–61), for example, invited people to tread upon a piece of canvas placed directly on the floor, either physically or in their minds. Though easily overlooked, the work radically questioned the division between art and the everyday. In 1964, she compiled more than 150 of her instructions in her groundbreaking artist’s book, Grapefruit. The instructions range from feasible to improbable, often relying upon the reader’s imagination to complete the work. At turns poetic, humorous, unsettling, and idealistic, Ono’s early instruction pieces anticipated her later work, such as Cut Piece (1964), a performance in which people were invited to cut away portions of her clothing; Sky Machine (1966), a sculpture that speaks to her environmental concerns; and To See the Sky (2015), a spiral staircase installed beneath a skylight that visitors were invited to ascend in order to contemplate the sky.

Ono’s collaborations with her late husband, Beatles legend John Lennon, including Bed-In (1969), a weeklong antiwar protest in their honeymoon suite, boldly communicated her commitment to social justice. Never one to confine her work to the gallery space, Ono continues to perform with her avant-garde Plastic Ono Band, promote world peace through her ongoing WAR IS OVER! campaign, and create works that blur the boundaries between art, politics, and society. In recent years, she has embraced social media to communicate her artistic and activist messages to even broader audiences.

Introduction by Francesca Wilmott, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, 2016


The research for this text was supported by a generous grant from The Modern Women's Fund

Wikipedia entry
Introduction
Yoko Ono ( OH-noh; Japanese: 小野 洋子, romanized: Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana オノ・ヨーコ; born February 18, 1933) is a Japanese multimedia artist, singer, songwriter and peace activist. Her work also encompasses performance art, which she performs in both English and Japanese, and filmmaking. She was married to English singer-songwriter John Lennon of the Beatles from 1969 until his murder in 1980. Ono grew up in Tokyo and moved to New York in 1953 to live with her family. She became involved in New York City's downtown artists scene, which included the Fluxus group. With their performance Bed-Ins for Peace in Amsterdam and Montreal in 1969, Ono and Lennon used their honeymoon at the Hilton Amsterdam as a stage for public protests against the Vietnam War. The feminist themes of her music have influenced musicians as diverse as the B-52s and Meredith Monk. She achieved commercial and critical acclaim in 1980 with the chart-topping album Double Fantasy, a collaboration with Lennon that was released three weeks before his murder, winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
Wikidata
Q117012
Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
Getty record
Nationalities
Japanese-American, American, Japanese
Gender
Female
Roles
Artist, Composer, Musician, Conceptual Artist, Multimedia Artist, Painter, Performance Artist, Photographer, Sculptor
Names
Yoko Ono, Yōko Ono, Ono, Ĭoko Ono, Йоко Оно, おおのようこ, おのようこ, オノヨーコ, オノヨ-コ, オノ・ヨーコ, 大野洋子, 大野陽子, 小野陽子
Ulan
500115959
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License

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