Yoko Ono

news: SPRING/SUMMER 2015


John Malkovich and Yoko Ono
Photo by fotossecchi

A.V. Club (September 18th 2015): "John Malkovich is releasing a concept album, which is a decidedly John Malkovich-esque thing to do. Titled Like A Puppet Show, the album features Malkovich reading Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave over a score composed by Eric Alexandrakis. Musicians including Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Dolores O’Riordan, Ric Ocasek, and everyone’s third-favorite Zappa, Dweezil, were invited to further manipulate the tracks, resulting in a near-infinite collage of Malkoviches. (Like A Puppet Show will also feature exclusive photos of Malkovich performing the reading to really flesh out the experience.) "

"The album will premiere exclusively on vinyl for Record Day on November 27th. However, it will be available for download by Christmas."



Yoko Ono

Press release: "Around 1968, Ono decided to create a band “that would never exist...that didn’t have a set number of members... that could accommodate anyone who wanted to play with it.” The name derived from a small three-dimensional work —composed almost entirely of transparent plastic objects— that John Lennon made in response to Ono’s initial idea. Although conceptually Plastic Ono Band had no members, in practice it had a flexible lineup."

Friday, August 14th 2015 and Saturday, August 15th 2015, tickets $65.

Yoko Ono with Denardo Coleman, drums Erik Friedlander, cello Alan Licht, guitar

Titus 2 Theater The Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53rd Street, New York


Amnesty John Lennon Day


Article art from Mojo (Mar 07) by Vincent McIndoe

From the press release (July 2015): Manimal group is excited to announce the sequel to Yoko Ono's critically acclaimed 2007 collaboration record Yes, I'm A Witch (Astralwerks). Yes, I'm A Witch Too is slated for an early 2016 release and features new collaborations and remixes pairing ONO with Death Cab For Cutie, Peter, Bjorn and John, Sparks, tUnE-yArDs, MiikeSnow, Cibo Matto, Portugal The Man and more.

The album is coming out via Manimal (Bat for Lashes, Warpaint, Chains of Love) as a double vinyl set, as well as in deluxe CD and digital formats, on January 22nd, 2016.


"Forgive Me My Love" ONO-Death Cab For Cutie
"Mrs. Lennon" ONO-Peter, Bjorn and John
"Move On Fast" ONO-Jack Douglas
"Give Me Something" ONO-Sparks
"She Gets Down on her Knees" ONO-Penguin Prison
"Soul Got Out of the Box" ONO-Portugal the Man
"Dogtown" ONO-Sean Ono Lennon
"Warrior Woman" ONO-tUnE-yArDs
"Catman" ONO-Miike Snow
"Yes, I'm Your Angel" ONO-Cibo Matto
"Wouldnit" ONO-Dave Audé
"I Have A Woman Inside My Soul" ONO-John Palumbo
"No Bed For Beatle John" ONO-Ebony Bones
"Coffin Car" ONO-Automatique
"Walking On Thin Ice" ONO-Danny Tenaglia
"Approximately Infinite Universe" ONO-Blow Up

Executive Producers: ONO and Rob Stevens

I am personally very excited by the collaborations by Cibo Matto and Sparks!

arrow Yoko Ono discography


Click to enlarge

Le Figaro (July 20th 2015): In March 2016 Yoko Ono's exhibition "Yoko Ono: lumière" will open in Lyon, France. According to Louise Blouin Media, "the exhibition will span the period from 1952-2016 and will survey the full spectrum of her vast and diverse practice across sound, film, participation, instruction, architecture, installations, and environments." (...) "Exhibitions of her work are rare in France." (...) "The MAC Lyon describes Ono as rare individual who emerged as a fully formed artist, from the beginning working with concepts and ideas, new ways of listening, and new ways of making sound. “Her education was philosophy, and the extraordinarily difficult times of war and displacement,” MAC Lyon states."

Yoko Ono: lumiEre, MAC Lyon, France: March 9th - July 10th 2016


Yoko Ono Wishtree
Image by AP

Architectural Digest (July 14th 2015): "This summer, visitors to the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden might notice something unusual about the landscaping. A flowering dogwood tree in the garden is currently festooned with hundreds of white tags as part of Yoko Ono’s ongoing participatory-art series “Wish Tree.” Since the project’s inception, Wish Trees have been installed in cities across the world including New York, Dallas, Madrid, Tokyo, and Mexico City. (...) Throughout the summer, the tags—which are never meant to be read by anyone except the writer—will be mailed to the artist and will, eventually, be installed at the site of Ono’s IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Reykjavik, Iceland. To date, more than one million Wish Tree tags have been collected from around the world."

Through September 7th, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden




The Telegraph (July 5th 2015): "Nicknaming Isil terrorist Mohammed Emwazi ‘Jihadi John’ is an insult to the memory of John Lennon, Yoko Ono has claimed. Emwazi, who is believed to have killed five hostages, was part of a four strong British born terrorist group dubbed The Beatles by the prisoners that they abducted. But Ono, 82, said the terrorists stood against everything that she and husband Lennon believed in. Asked about the nickname in an interview for The Observer magazine, Ono said: “I thought that was very distatesful. “That’s why it is important for me not to be a couch potato. I have to keep on doing something because the other side will take over – people who are really not understanding what beautiful things we have in this world and want to destroy it."

(...) " Ringo Starr has also expressed his disgust at the use of his former band’s name saying: “It’s bullshit. What they are doing out there is against everything the Beatles stood for. He recently told the Evening Standard: “If we stood for anything we never stood for that. The four of us absolutely stood for peace and love. But we are not in control."


Yoko Ono
Image by AP Photo

Capital New York (July 10th 2015): "Yoko Ono took out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Friday calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reject state permits for a pipeline that would transport gas fracked in Pennsylvania into New York's Southern Tier. The ad, paid for by the anti-fracking activist, artist and widow of John Lennon, called on Cuomo and President Barack Obama to reject the Constitution pipeline."

“We must stop fracking, which means we must not transport fracked gas across our state where it is headed for foreign export markets,” she wrote. “The danger to our homes is also the danger to the rest of the world, as we continue to harm the climate, the world is watching us.” In the ad, Ono called the pipeline a “scar that never heals” and said it had an Orwellian name."

(...)"Developers of the Constitution pipeline have already transported the pieces of the pipeline into the state and expected to have begun construction by now. State officials have not publicly said when they will issue the final permits for the project."

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The Guardian (July 5th 2015): "For more than 50 years Yoko Ono has been campaigning – for peace, for feminism, for gun control and, most recently, against fracking. This tireless activism, she says, is at the heart of her work as an artist."

(...) "Communication with the world at large has been Ono’s lifelong mission – even when the world responded with hostility. She’s won the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Observer Ethical Awards for her activism over half a century, most of which is indivisible from her art. Think of the “Bed-In” that she and Lennon staged in Amsterdam in 1969, or the billboard posters that announced: “War Is Over! If You Want It” the same year and her “Wish Trees”, an ongoing work started in 1981 where members of the public are encouraged to write their deepest wishes down on labels and hang them from a tree."

(...) "Ono believes that activism can – and should – take many forms, and her range of causes is similarly broad: world peace, of course, but also the environment (in 2012 she embarked on a high-profile anti-fracking crusade), gun control and social issues including feminism and same-sex marriage."

(...) "Of course Ono has been accused of hypocrisy, too, by those who believe that it’s all very well pontificating about peace and love when you’re rich; American TV personality Glenn Beck’s website challenged her for supporting Occupy Wall Street in 2011 when she is supposedly worth $500m. Such accusations glide over her. These critics, she says, “don’t even indulge in hypocrisy – they don’t say: ‘Let’s do something’ and then not do it. They’re not doing anything.”

"She was, however, shaken by the response to her anti-fracking campaign, which in 2013 saw Ono and her son Sean, Susan Sarandon and a group of activists visit towns affected by hydraulic fracturing. In December fracking was temporarily banned in New York state, where Ono owns a farm. “That was very difficult for me,” says Ono of the campaign. “To be against an oil company is something that most people would not want to do. It’s not something that you can do lightly. Last year there were many signs that showed me that maybe they’re really against me. A lot of things that happened to me last year were very scary.” Can she give an example? “No,” says Ono, chuckling at her own obstinacy. “I’m just saying those things did happen and I was very lucky – I came out of it.”

(...) "...she defends Lennon’s legacy with ferocity. Unsurprisingly, she was upset when the nickname “Jihadi John” was given to Isis extremist Mohammed Emwazi by the media; he was part of a four-person British-born terrorist cell nicknamed the Beatles by the prisoners they terrorised and later killed. “I thought that was very distasteful,” says Ono. “That’s why it’s important to me to not be a couch potato. I have to keep on doing something because the other side will take over – people who are really not understanding what beautiful things we have in this world and want to destroy it. And I’m not going to let them destroy John or the Beatles.”

Yoko Ono in 2013
Image by WireImage


Many new art exhibitions by Yoko Ono coming up

"...over the next 18 months she will have exhibitions in France, Japan, China, Brazil and Mexico."



Yoko Ono performing in Helsinki Finland 2014
Image by Sari Gurney/AIU

The New York Times (June 25th 2015): "Ms. Ono was a musician and composer from the start of her career. Many of her artistic innovations now celebrated, such as her proto-Conceptualist use of instructions and scores, have roots in the musical avant-garde of New York and Tokyo. And the artificial division of her output into an early artistic career and a later musical one has obscured the enduring connections between the two."

(...) "Ms. Ono dropped out of Sarah Lawrence, moved to New York and soon eloped with Toshi Ichiyanagi, a young composer then studying at Juilliard. The New York musical vanguard at the time was under the spell of D. T. Suzuki, who taught Zen Buddhism at Columbia, and the composer John Cage. Mr. Ichiyanagi enrolled in Cage’s renowned course at the New School and became a favorite student (and a rehearsal pianist for Merce Cunningham’s troupe). Ms. Ono audited the courses, too, and Cage’s influence pervades the early work of both these Japanese students. In 1961, the two played their music at the Village Gate, the noted downtown club best known as a jazz venue. "

"Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ms. Ono’s closest relationships were with musicians. With the Minimalism pioneer La Monte Young and the electronic composer Richard Maxfield, she presented a series of musical performances in her studio, a cold-water walk-up in a neighborhood that would not be called TriBeCa for decades to come. “THE PURPOSE OF THIS SERIES IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT,” read the program announcements for the Chambers Street Loft Series, which ran from December 1960 to June 1961 and featured music by Mr. Young and Mr. Ichiyanagi; dance works by Simone Forti; and a spatial environment by Forti’s husband at the time, Robert Morris. Cage and David Tudor came; so did Marcel Duchamp and Peggy Guggenheim."

(...) "The next spring, Ms. Ono returned to Tokyo after more than a decade in the United States, though in the shadow of her more famous husband — a sensation she would soon experience a thousand times over. Her two years back in Japan were momentous. By the end of them, she had divorced and remarried (twice, both times to the jazz musician Tony Cox), entered a sanitarium, unveiled “Cut Piece” and published “Grapefruit.” In Tokyo, she also pushed away from music and would not embrace it again until the late 1960s, and on a much more public platform. “Works of Yoko Ono,” as her concert at the Sogetsu Art Center was called, was the prologue to a six-performance series by Cage, whom Mr. Ichiyanagi had invited for his first Japanese sojourn. On one evening at Sogetsu, Ms. Ono lay on the strings of the open piano, her long hair hanging off the side, while Cage and Tudor thwacked the strings with a variety of objects. It was a watershed in the history of the Tokyo music and art scenes, with numerous magazines writing about “Keji shokku”: “Cage shock.” But Ms. Ono was miserable. “Who was I,” she later said, “but Toshi’s wife and John Cage’s friend?”

(...) "It was probably inevitable that Ms. Ono’s return to music would not receive the consideration it deserved, not when the most famous person in the world was playing guitar on her records."

arrow Yoko Ono discography



Chicago Tribune (June 12th 2015): "Yoko Ono had much love for Chicago on Friday as she joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce a public art installation she will design for Jackson Park but shed no light on what the piece, titled "SKY LANDING," will look like once it goes in next year. After scholars spoke at the event about the historical ties between Chicago and Ono's native Japan that led Japan to donate the park's Phoenix Pavilion during the 1893 World's Fair, the artist said she had learned new things about the relationship between the two places."

(...) "It's almost like Chicago and Japan, that there's an incredible, incredible, intense opening of the heart from the Chicago end, and I didn't know that," Ono said. "It's almost like, the intensity is almost insane. And I think, 'Wow, this is incredible.' " She did not discuss the specifics of the project."

(...) "The installation … is set to be open to the public in June of 2016," (Mayor) Emanuel's office said in a news release. "The installation will become a place of congregation and contemplation and will be installed in harmony with the revitalized landscape of Jackson Park in the Garden of Phoenix."


Yoko Ono Morning Peace 2015

The Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53 Street, New York Sunrise at 5:25 a.m.

PopRally presents YOKO ONO MORNING PEACE 2015, a global gathering at sunrise on June 21, 2015, celebrating the MoMA exhibition Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 and the 50th anniversary of Yoko Ono’s New York performance of Morning Piece (1964) to George Maciunas.

Morning Piece was first performed in Tokyo in 1964 and again on the roof of Ono’s apartment building at 87 Christopher Street in September 1965. At these events, attendees gathered at sunrise, and Ono sold artworks with typewritten pieces of paper attached to glass and other materials. Each specified a future date and a particular period of morning (e.g., “February 3, 1987 after sunrise,” “January 1, 1972 all morning”). Ono would inform buyers, “You can see the sky through it,” and offer them the possibility of possessing something intangible: a future morning.

Referencing the original work, YOKO ONO MORNING PEACE 2015 is a sunrise gathering activated by events across the globe, allowing the celebration to continue for 24 hours as the sun rises in different time zones. Beyond the eight official events at partner institutions, individuals are encouraged to host their own events according to the following instructions:

On the solstice at sunrise
celebrate mornings of
past, future, and now.
Listen to the world.
Touch each other
when the sun comes up.

y.o. spring 2015

All participants are encouraged to share their experiences on social media via the hashtag #YokoOnoPeace


Yoko Ono at MoMa 2015
Yoko Ono at MoMa for the catelogue cover. ©Kishin Shinoyama/Lenono Photo Archive.

Finally, a Yoko Ono's solo exhibition at MoMA! From the press release: "Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971 examines the beginnings of Ono's career, demonstrating her pioneering role in visual art, performance and music during the 1960s and early 1970s. It begins in New York in December 1960, where Ono initiated a performance series with La Monte Young in her Chambers Street loft. Over the course of the decade, Ono earned international recognition, staging "Cut Piece" in Kyoto and Tokyo in 1964, exhibiting at the Indica Gallery in London in 1966, and launching with John Lennon her global "War Is Over!" campaign in 1969. Ono returned to New York in the early 1970s and organized an unsanctioned one woman show at MoMA. Over 40 years after Ono's unofficial MoMA debut, the Museum presents its first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the artist's work."

Yoko Ono One Woman Show 2015 catalogue by MOMA
The exhibition catalogue which is a homage to the artists book by
Yoko Ono from 1971 by the same title

The New York Times
(May 6th 2015): "Yoko Ono was about to burn a painting. Standing alongside curators and conservators in an unused gallery at the Museum of Modern Art this spring, the 82-year-old superstar wanted to copy a cigarette hole that John Cage, the avant-garde composer, had burned into another blank canvas of hers half a century earlier. For the remake, she had asked for the French cigarettes that Cage would have used but ended up settling for one from Nat Sherman. Lighting up in a museum that had not smelled of tobacco for decades, she reached out and, with a sure artist’s touch, scorched a tidy round hole. Velazquez painting the Spanish king could not have been watched more closely than Ms. Ono was — though it was hard to know whether these courtiers were crowding around to witness creation or to prevent conflagration. “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971,” opening on May 17 in one of MoMA’s prestigious sixth-floor galleries, is a major event of the museum’s summer season. On display will be more than 100 vintage works — and in a few cases, as with the burned canvas, facsimiles — that represent the heyday of Ms. Ono’s first career in art, long overshadowed by her better-known image as pop-culture icon and widow of John Lennon. (...)"

"Ms. Ono, who was born in Tokyo, describes her commitment to conceptual art as starting before her first day of school. “When I was about 4 years old, I had all these ideas,” she recalled. She described a moment when she stood with her mother in their fruit garden, and told her, “Why don’t you just take one seed from a fruit and another seed from another fruit, and halve it and put it together and bury it? It might grow something really strange.” She got a playmate to write down this idea, she said, adding, “and that’s the kind of thing that was going on, from the beginning: I had decided that whenever I get an idea I have to show it to the world.” That balancing act between esoteric ideas and their mass dissemination may make Ms. Ono perfect for today’s MoMA. Her celebrity solo exhibition steers a course between the crowd-bait blockbusters no museum can resist and the substantial shows that artists and critics hope for from the museum. (...)."

"Art is challenging,” she said. “As life is. I think life is very challenging to each one of us."

International Business Times (May 13th 2015): "Curator Christophe Cherix said the show was designed to let the works speak for themselves, so each piece could be understood on its own and how it is connected to the others. "We really tried to understand what were her key contributions in the first decade of her practice. And narrowed down to the pieces we felt really the most influence today," Cherix said. "Later in 1971 she does 'Fly' where she follows a fly on a naked body. How those two works work together? There are seven years in between, one is black and white and a performance. One is a film with a professional model and is in colour. Both are about nudity, both are about being extremely vulnerable."

"He said: "We feel it has long been overshadowed. Yoko Ono is a very well-known figure, but few people know that when she met John Lennon she had 10 years behind her as an artist – and she was well-known. Not as well-known as she has become."

arrow Yoko Ono herself about the MoMa show in May 2015
arrow More exhibitions by Yoko Ono


Yoko Ono MOMA 2015
Yoko Ono with her installation piece "Apple"(1964). Photo by Reuters.

More about the show in the media

arrow "Why Yoko Ono Is Her Own Breed Of Celebrity" / The Huffington Post: "Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933 to a Buddhist mother/classical painter and a Christian father/classical composer and pianist. "One reason why my artwork was kind of ignored as a child was because my mother was such an incredible traditional painter," Ono explained in an interview with The Huffington Post. "Whenever I did something she'd say 'Wait, a minute. You don't do it that way!' She interfered with my painting. I really thought she had the right to, as a professional artist. But I felt intimidated and also guilty for pursuing art when my mother was supposed to be the one artist in the house." While not quite nurturing of her budding artistic interests as a child, Ono's parents did provide her with a vibrant example of a loving relationship, between two creatives nonetheless. "People think that Asian people have arranged marriages or something like that, but it's not true," she said. "They met in school, they got very into it and they got married. Both of them were very artistic people. I came into the picture and I had my own thing going. But it was not really appreciated by them. The kind of thing I was doing was a little bit too far out."

arrow "Yoko Goes Solo" / The New Yorker: "I asked Ono which other artists’ work interests her. She said, “I think about all artists. I’m not saying it to be tactful. People think being an artist must be the easiest thing in the world. But it’s not. So I admire their courage. And I’m always hoping that all of them are going to very successful. Because one day there will be so many artists that together we’re just going to float."

arrow "Why Yoko Ono (Still) Matters" / Vogue: "Ono is frank about their creative equality, even now. In the most recent issue of W, she says: “John was very well established in his field. But he realized that I was very established in mine, too. So it was a meeting of two souls in a very powerful way.” She changed him as much as he changed her."



© Sari Gurney
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