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.Ono grew up in Tokyo and moved to New York in 1953 with her family. She became involved in New York City's downtown artists scene, which included the Fluxus group. She came to international notoriety in 1969 when she married British singer-songwriter John Lennon of the Beatles, with the couple using their honeymoon as a stage for public protests against the Vietnam War. She and Lennon remained married until he was murdered in front of the couple's apartment building in December 1980. Together they had one son, Sean, who later also became a musician. Ono began a career in popular music in 1969, forming the Plastic Ono Band with Lennon and producing a number of avant-garde music albums in the 1970s. 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. To date, she has had twelve number one singles on the US Dance charts, and in 2016 was named the 11th most successful dance club artist of all time by Billboard magazine. Many musicians have paid tribute to Ono as an artist in her own right and as a muse and icon, including Elvis Costello, The B-52's, Sonic Youth and Meredith Monk.As Lennon's widow, Ono works to preserve his legacy. She funded the Strawberry Fields memorial in Manhattan's Central Park, the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, and the John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan (which closed in 2010). She has made significant philanthropic contributions to the arts, peace, disaster relief in Japan and the Philippines, and other causes. In 2002, she inaugurated a biennial $50,000 LennonOno Grant for Peace. In 2012 she received the Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt Human Rights Award and co-founded the group Artists Against Fracking.
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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