Ono was a close friend of Cage’s throughout his life. She helped to organize his tour to Japan in 1962 and performed in his concerts at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo and other places in Japan. That year, Cage composed 0’00” (4’33” No. 2) and dedicated it to Ono and her then–husband, Toshi Ichiyanagi.
Ono’s Pieces for Orchestra to La Monte Young have numerous possible interpretations for a performance. They were composed in 1962 and first performed in New York in 1965. The complete scores are published in her book Grapefruit, a collection of Ono’s word works from 1952 to 1964, including her Instruction for Paintings. These pieces achieve a strong conceptual presence and are a final stage in a three–year evolutionary process about the idea of what constitutes an original artwork. Starting in 1961 with her AG Gallery show in New York, she explained the process or function of the works, with two or three exceptions where labels contained the scores. The following year in Tokyo, she showed only written instructions for the paintings. She then made a group of photostats of these “originals” that could substitute for the handwritten ones, finally typing them and reproducing them by offset in Grapefruit, still considering each an original work.
Gallery label from There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, October 12, 2013–June 22, 2014.