Two weeks ago, while the United States was marking its 239th birthday, The Museum of Modern Art was celebrating the 51st birthday of Yoko Ono’s iconic artist’s book Grapefruit (1964), a compendium of her instruction-based artwork. The book holds special significance for the Museum, as it was one of the first works by Ono acquired by MoMA, and it is currently on view in the exhibition Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971.
Posts tagged ‘instruction paintings’
I first heard about Yoko Ono’s so-called “instruction pieces” as a high school student, when a friend told me the (possibly apocryphal, certainly embellished) story of Ono’s first meeting with John Lennon. History according to the poorly fact-checked lunchtime ramblings of rock ‘n’ roll–obsessed seventeen-year-olds: During a visit to London’s Indica Gallery in 1966, Lennon encountered Ono’s Ceiling Painting. Climbing to the top of a tall, white ladder, he used a magnifying glass dangling from a thread to read a message printed in tiny letters on the ceiling: “YES.” Profoundly moved by the work’s unalloyed positivity, he demanded to meet the artist right away.
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