Yoko Ono: One Woman Show: 1960–1971


Yoko Ono. London. 1966–69

Yoko Ono. Lion Wrapping Event. August 3, 1967. Trafalgar Square, London. Photo: Anthony Cox. Courtesy of Yoko Ono

Curator, Christophe Cherix: In 1966, Ono went to London and was invited to show her work at John Dunbar’s Indica Gallery. John Lennon visited before the opening.

Yoko Ono: And I was a little bit furious because, I didn't understand why. I told John Dunbar never to bring anybody until it's all ready. I said, "Okay. Maybe he's a very close friend or something, so I shouldn't say anything." So I thought: "Well, maybe I should follow them and see what they're doing."

Narrator: John Lennon was intrigued by the ladder you see in this space.

Yoko Ono: He went up the stairs, and there's a kind of magnifying glass that's dangling from it, you know? And he took that and he looked at this – I just wrote YES in the center – a very small YES. And, he just looked at it.

There’s a piece called “Forget It.” And it's just a needle – a long needle. And once I give the instruction "Forget it," you can never forget it. It's a very magical and mysterious thing to give instructions.

Narrator: The white chess set nearby was also in the show. 

Yoko Ono: What happens is in the beginning it's all right, when you're winning; but when you're losing they start to say, "Oh, isn't that mine?" … "No, no. That's mine," you know, and trying to sort of con each other.

Narrator: There’s a replica of White Chess Set in MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

Yoko Ono: And you can play on it. It's a very interesting game because it starts to tickle you a little, you know? The result is fun and laughter, not serious at all – and that's how life is, you know?

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