Yoko Ono Gives Piece a Chance
with One Woman Show at the MoMa in NYC
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Yoko Ono is an activist, artist and musician. Yoko is perhaps best known as the wife/widow of former Beatle John Lennon. Yet, Ono has always been an innovative individual often misunderstood. Born in February of 1933, Yoko has lived a life of tragedies and triumphs. Her latest victory is the Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971 exhibit at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) on 53rd Street in New York City. This special showing of Yoko's works will be hosted at the MoMa from May 17th through September 7th, 2015.


The MoMa was a popular place on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 when SoundPress.net arrived at the famed museum to check out Yoko and the masters. There were approximately 125 early Ono objects on display. The collection featured audio, films, installations, visuals and words. Yoko was a conceptual artist who invited people to participate in the process. Her experimental works "radically questioned the division between art and the everyday." There were a number of interactive pieces at the MoMa including a newer one designed especially for the exhibit. It was a spiral staircase that led up to a sky view. Yes, we waited on a short line to be a part of the art.

Others chose to participate in "Bag Piece" in which one sat or laid down in a black bag. In 1969, John and Yoko spoke to the media about peace from inside a big bag. The idea behind it was that they could not be judged by their appearance if they were unseen and thus "bagism" was born. There were vintage films such as "Cut Piece" (1964) where Yoko sat expressionless while her outfit was stripped off of her by a male assistant with an intimidating pair of sheers. In this bold and singular act Yoko was confronting issues of gender, class, and cultural identity through her revolutionary and often confrontational art. In "Lighting Piece" she asked participants to contemplate their existence in the life-span of a lit and then extinguished match.


Some of the unique exhibits at Yoko Ono's One Woman Show.

Also at the MoMa was a ladder with a spyglass. At the top was a white board in which one needed the magnifying glass to see something. Patrons were not allowed on the ladder but with a zoom lens one could see the word "Yes". Many may recall the story of this work at the Indica Gallery in London when Lennon climbed the steps to see the word. This moment in 1966 would lead to the marriage of John and Yoko (1969) and their Bed-In honeymoon. Their first week as a married couple was spent in bed talking to the press about peace.

Transcripts of Yoko's written works were also at the MoMa. She penned simple but stimulating statements she called instruction pieces such as "listen to the sound of the earth turning." There was a separate room where Ono's music was piped in along with albums, 45's, posters and IPods (with headphones) allowing people to listen to tunes from Yoko's catalogue ranging from 1969 through 2013. Ono was regularly criticized for her unusual vocalizations, which afterward became more popular thanks to bands like the B-52s. Later in the 2000's, DJs along with dance artists re-mixed many of Ono's songs pushing them to the top of the charts.


Iconic scenes seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Instructions in Japanese along with rather dark paintings were on site. There was also an all-white chess set which in one daring move rendered the need for conflict obsolete. "Apple" recalled her days with The Beatles. Additionally, fans could participate in stomping on fabric, observe half of a living room and watch a new piece of art being created one drop of water at a time. Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971 defines a singular artist who spoke her mind through various mediums.

Many of the masters reside at the MoMa including works by Paul Cezanne, Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol. Architecture/design, drawings, photography and prints are also among the MoMa's collections. Depending on pacing one could spend a full day at the MoMa. Special exhibits such as Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971 are shown on a rotating basis.


Yoko's captivating all-white chess set is on display.

Related Links: For more information on YOKO ONO and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Yoko Ono | MoMa.org

(Originally Published on July 18, 2015)

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