Make a wish. Write it down on a piece of paper. Fold it and tie it around a branch of a wish tree. Ask your friend to do the same. Keep wishing. Until the branches are covered with wishes.
Yoko Ono is an artist whose thought-provoking work challenges people’s understanding of art and the world around them. From the beginning of her career, she was a Conceptualist whose work encompassed performance, instructions, film, music, and writing.
Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933, and moved to New York in 1953, following her studies in philosophy in Japan. By the late 1950s, she had become part of New York Cityʼs vibrant avant-garde activities. In 1960, she opened her Chambers Street loft, where she and La Monte Young presented a series of radical performances and exhibited realizations of some of her early conceptual works. In 1961, she had a one-person show of her Instruction Paintings at George Maciunas’ legendary AG Gallery in New York, and later that year, she performed a solo concert at Carnegie Recital Hall of revolutionary works involving movement, sound, and voice. In 1962, she returned to Tokyo, where, at the Sogetsu Art Center, she extended her New York performance and exhibited her Instructions for Paintings. In 1964, Ono performed Cut Piece in Kyoto and Tokyo, and published Grapefruit, a book of her collected conceptual instruction pieces. At the end of that year, she returned to New York. In 1965, she performed Cut Piece during her concert at Carnegie Recital Hall, Bag Piece during a solo event for the Perpetual Fluxus Festival, and she performed Sky Piece to Jesus Christ during the Fluxorchestra concert at Carnegie Recital Hall that September. In 1966, she made the first version of Film No. 4 (Bottoms), and realized a collaborative installation The Stone, at the Judson Gallery. In the fall of 1966, she was invited to take part in the Destruction in Art Symposium in London, and later that year, held one-person exhibitions at the Indica Gallery, and the Lisson Gallery the following year. During this period, she also performed a number of concerts throughout England. In 1969, together with John Lennon, she realized Bed-In, and the worldwide War Is Over! (if you want it) campaign for peace. Yoko Ono travels annually to Iceland for the lighting of her IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, which she created in 2007 as a permanent installation on Viðey Island, Iceland. She continues to work tirelessly for peace with her IMAGINE PEACE campaign.
Today, Ono is widely recognized for her groundbreaking films and her radical music, recordings, concerts, as well as her performance art. Her films Fly, “RAPE”, Film No. 4 to name a few, are considered classics of 20th century film, and her music has finally been acknowledged as the genesis of much of the new wave of musical forms that have circled the world.
Ono has exhibited her work throughout the world, including major touring exhibitions, biennales and triennales. In 2009, she received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Venice Biennale. Her major exhibitions have included YES YOKO ONO (2000 – 2001), organized by the Japan Society in New York, traveling throughout the United States, Japan, Canada and Korea, and YOKO ONO: HALF-A-WIND SHOW – A RETROSPECTIVE (2013) at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, traveling to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Kunsthalle Krems in Austria, and Guggenheim Bilbao. YOKO ONO: ONE WOMAN SHOW, 1960-1971 opened at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in May 2015. Also in 2015, Ono had one-person exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT), FAURSCHOU FOUNDATION BEIJING, and opened a major retrospective, YOKO ONO: Lumière de L’aube at MAC Lyon in France. In 2016, Ono’s permanent installation, SKYLANDING, was unveiled in Chicago’s Jackson Park, which was followed by a one-person exhibition at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece later that year. In 2017, Ono’s works were featured in YOKO ONO: Four Works for Washington and the World at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Prospect.4 in New Orleans, Tate Modern, C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea, as well as in her one-person exhibition, YOKO ONO: TRANSMISSION at Kunsthal Charlottenborg. A new version of Ono’s work, ONOCHORD, was presented earlier this year at Henningsvaer Lighthouse in Lofoten, Norway. Currently, Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is on view at the Museum of Liverpool. Forthcoming exhibitions in 2018 include those at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, and the Museum der bildenden Künste (MdbK) in Leipzig.