[personal profile] wonderboynj
[Updated this on April 21st to show the ceramic piece]

Thursday April 2nd, I had the chance to see Yoko Ono at the Guggenheim.

The evening began with a short speech by Alexandra Munroe talking about Yoko's accomplishments. At the end of her speech she said, with any luck hopefully Yoko will be here soon and returned to her seat in the auditorium (it was tiny, smaller than even most high school auditorium).

A few minutes later, Yoko walked onstage and sat down in one of two chairs off to the side of the stage.

Yoko spoke for a few moments and then showed two interesting videos. The first showed footage of her parents and herself as a youngster in Japan, and footage from when they lived in San Francisco. There was a very cute clip of Yoko dancing in Golden Gate Park, and she pointed out in the background that the Golden Gate Bridge was not yet completed.

The second video was about the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland. It talked about how in the 60s John had asked her to build a lighthouse at his home, Ascot. However, she didn't know how to do it. She eventually came up with the idea of the tower of light, so it gets lit every year from October 9th until December 8th. October 9th being John's birthday and December 8th being the day he died.

After the second video, Yoko walked to a chair sitting in the middle of the stage and announced. "This is a chair, but I don't know it's a chair." She spent the next several minutes trying to figure out exactly what it was. She created various shapes with the chair, and set it in different angles to her body. She laid down on the floor and at one point lifted her legs up over her head and touched them onto the floor behind her head. It made her look, well, rather like the chair. When she was done, she said that she and the chair were now friends. It was an interesting thing to watch.

I wish I could have taken a few pictures, but the staff of the Guggenheim were on the lookout for anyone taking any type of pictures.

At this point, Alexandra Munroe returned to the stage for a brief discussion with Yoko. At some point during their disussion, two people in black bags crawled up onto the stage and remained there for the rest of the evening. They were in constant motion, crawling and moving and rolling around the stage. I assume this was a reference to bagism (one of Yoko's early performance art pieces, and mentioned by John in the song Give Peace A Chance).

At different times Yoko would pick up binoculars or opera glasses to look at them through, and she would turn them onto the audience as well. She also had a few of the ONOCHORD lights, and was flashing I love you to the audience at various times.

They then took questions from the audience. At this point, two men walked up onto the stage with yardsticks and balls of yarn. While the audience member asked a question, the first man would measure out the yarn on the yardstick until the question was complete, at which point he would cut the yarn and place it in a fishbowl. The second man did the same thing with his yarn, only he did it while Yoko was answering the question. At the end they carried the fishbowls off the stage, but I was wondering what they would do with them. Maybe someday I'll find out :)

I don't really remember most of the questions, but one did stick out in my mind. A young man said that he was a visual artist, but it was discouraging to him that he felt everything had been done already. He said when he had an idea for something he would do research on it only to find it had been done by someone else.

Yoko's answer was she believed that once a piece of art was done, it was over and could be created again. Therefore, nothing really had ever been created. I'm not sure why, I just found that to be something I've been thinking about since.

After Yoko took the last question, an easel was carried on the stage and a picture of a large urn placed on it. Two stagehands carried a folded sheet onstage and opened it to reveal pieces of the urn. Yoko said that she had broken the urn, and she wanted us each to take a piece of it home and in ten years we would reunite and put the pieces back together.

As an aside, at some point Alexandra mentioned that she had recently been at Yoko's apartment and been privileged to hear Yoko's new album, which is called Lovesong or Lovesongs. She said it would be out in the next few months.

Yoko is always influencing new art and artists and musicians. The Pet Shop Boys' new album is called "Yes". It's an homage to Yoko's art piece that led to her meeting of John Lennon. The piece was a ladder that you climbed and then picked up a magnifying glass to read a tiny word on the ceiling of the gallery, the word was "Yes".

[livejournal.com profile] scream4noreason mentioned how influential Yoko's song "Walking On Thin Ice" was, including the music video which she directed. It was also responsible for my becoming interested in John Lennon. His guitar playing on the song was the final thing he ever recorded, and it's said when he was shot, he was holding the final mix of it in his hands.

Here's a link to the video, I couldn't get the embed from MySpace to work.

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