Yoko Ono: One Woman Show: 1960–1971

Yoko Ono. Grapefruit. 1964

Artist's book, offset printed, page (each): 5 7/16 x 5 7/16" (13.8 x 13.8 cm); overall (closed): 5 7/16 x 5 7/16 x 1 1/4" (13.8 x 13.8 x 3.2 cm). The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift

Curator, Christophe Cherix: These cards form one of the earliest typescripts for a book that was to be filled with Ono’s instruction pieces. Ono called the book Grapefruit.

Yoko Ono: I did it because it was so interesting to do an instruction piece. Why don't we do it in a way that you don't finish the piece but ask other people to finish it in their own way? And I thought: "Great."

But you know what? It wasn't really that great because I was an old-fashioned artist, as well. And that part of me was saying, "I don't want anybody to even put a scratch on my work." That's how most artists felt. And I thought: "Oh, am I going to let somebody touch my piece and make it different?" And as soon as I thought that way, I thought, "That's why this piece is good. That's why we have to do that.”

Christophe Cherix: Ono mailed these cards from Japan to her friend, George Maciunas, in New York.

Yoko Ono: Whenever I did something, George – around that time – always wanted to print it in his newspaper. He made a point of the fact that he wants to make a book out of it. But at the same time, I wanted to make a book. You see, I would have sent all those writings to him anyway because, at the time, whenever I do something, I just wanted to show it to somebody, you know. And George is a good one because he understands my work.

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