In late 1971, Yoko Ono announced an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art—a one-woman show that she irreverently titled Museum Of Modern (F)art. When visitors arrived at the Museum, however, there was little evidence of her work. Outside the entrance, a man wore a sandwich board stating that Ono had released a multitude of flies and that the public was invited to follow their flight within the Museum and across the city. Now, over 40 years later, Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 surveys the decisive decade that led up to that unauthorised exhibition at MoMA, bringing together approximately 125 of her early objects, works on paper, installations, performances, audio recordings, and films, alongside rarely seen archival materials. This is the first exhibition at MoMA dedicated exclusively to the artist’s work.
Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 draws upon the 2008 Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, which added approximately 100 of Ono’s artworks and related ephemera to the Museum’s holdings. A number of works on view invite interaction, including Painting to Be Stepped On (1960/61), and Ono’s groundbreaking performance Bag Piece (1964). Her earliest works were often based on instructions that Ono communicated to viewers in verbal or written form. At times poetic, humorous, unsettling, and idealistic, Ono’s text-based works anticipated the objects that she presented throughout the decade, including Grapefruit (1964), her influential book of instructions; Apple (1966), a solitary piece of fruit placed on a Plexiglas pedestal; and Half-A-Room (1967), an installation of bisected domestic objects. The exhibition also explores Ono’s seminal performances and films, including Cut Piece (1964) and Film No. 4 (1966/67). At the end of the decade, Ono’s collaborations with John Lennon, including Bed-In (1969) and the WAR IS OVER! if you want it (1969–) campaign, boldly communicated her commitment to promoting world peace.
One Woman Show, 1960-1971 is on at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 17 May until 7 September 2015.
On 21 June 2015, MoMA celebrates the 50th anniversary of Yoko Ono's Morning Peace (1964) performance with a special event YOKO ONO MORNING PEACE 2015 that starts at sunrise 5:25am in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at MoMA. The event is a global gathering featuring a live performance by Blood Orange and DJ set by FLAT WHITE (Virgil Abloh).
Image: Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1964. Performed by Yoko Ono in New Works of Yoko Ono, Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, March 21, 1965. Photograph by Minoru Niizuma. © Minoru Niizuma. Courtesy Lenono Photo Archive, New York.