When you hear the name Yoko Ono, one may think ‘John Lennon’s wife.’ But she is much more than just that; she is an incredible artist and has a side to show that many people may not know. She is an artist who thinks outside of the box and takes simple or extravagant ideas and turns them into advocating and thought provoking pieces of art. Many of her pieces involve the viewers’ interaction; this makes her work personal, energetic, persuading, informational, and personal to the individual participating. She reenacts a lot of her artworks so it is often difficult to find dates on when her art was done.
Painting to Hammer a Nail
When Yoko Ono did Painting to Hammer a Nail, it was an invitation to viewers to pick up a hammer and hammer a nail into the wood (yes, this piece of wood was blank when it started). It was a part of a series she did that was called Instruction Paintings. I feel that this piece invites people to discover themselves, by pushing a nail into this white thing is part of a self-discovery. This piece could not have been done time and time again without people following Yoko Ono’s instructions; it was a group collaboration that created a thing of destruction and beauty.
In this piece that Yoko Ono did, she invited the audience to use scissors to literally cut away the clothing she was wearing. This is part of her activism that she portrays in many of her art works. This piece of art was a performance. Every time that Yoko Ono reenacted this performance, it was unique. It obviously would depend on the size of the audience and how aggressive they were in cutting the pieces of clothing from her body. This was a piece of art to represent the role of women in society. She said in video I watched that she would purposely wear expensive and nice outfits to represent this, and that she would literally lose a nice piece of her clothing each time she did this performance. Here the public also becomes part of the art that is made just as in many of her pieces.
Hide-And-Seek Piece Yes
Have you ever had random thoughts that you just write down? Why not make those thoughts, those imagination pieces that make your brain ‘you’, a piece of art. Yoko Ono does this a lot with her instructional pieces of art and with interaction pieces. Hide-And-Seek is powerful and makes people think; it is an odd thing to say, but she has written down her imagination. Yes was a piece where she placed a ladder underneath a flat surface that was attached to the ceiling (or in some installation pieces it was on the actual ceiling of the building), and she hung a magnifying glass nearby: this invited the viewer to take the magnifying glass and see what was written on a small piece of paper. The word ‘Yes.’ A lot of work that Yoko Ono did, along with John Lennon, were pieces of peace activism; I think these and along with many others show that side of her and her husband.
The Wish Tree, which has also been done time and time again, is another instructional piece in which Yoko Ono tells her viewers to put wishes onto the ‘wish tree’. This is, again, advocating ideas and reaching into personal lives. It requires many people and viewers to make this piece of art what it is. There is something special about having your wish among others connected to this wishing tree. Yoko Ono’s instructions tell you to ask your friend to attach their wish to the tree, and it is almost clear that you must obey, even though it is your choice not to because she is not forcing you to do any of her instructions. After taking part in such a self-discovering act, I would assume I would feel excited to tell my friends to participate.
Yoko Ono has a unique but incredible way of portraying her ideas and art pieces. One of my favorite things about her is that she depends on her viewers/public/audience in order to create her pieces. It must be nerve racking for her to expose a blank canvas and give people quiet instructions; what if she gets a group that does not want to participate? With her way of doing art, she takes that risk: it is up to the public to create their own experience. I would love to make it a goal to go see her work in person and take part in her art pieces and learn more about myself by doing them.