Ono's work has generally consisted of quiet, personalized, meditative pieces, as well as "event" shows or Happenings, all of which were highly conceptual and often required observer participation to complete. In her "Stone Show" (early 1960s), participants entered a room measuring... [more]
Ono's work has generally consisted of quiet, personalized, meditative pieces, as well as "event" shows or Happenings, all of which were highly conceptual and often required observer participation to complete. In her "Stone Show" (early 1960s), participants entered a room measuring about 20 square feet, climbed inside a black semi-transparent nylon bag, and removed all of their clothes. The walls of the room were made of white gossamer netting and the white floor was covered with a fine-lined road map drawn in light blue. Outside the netting, where the audience sat, were batteries of white lights. Every 60 seconds the lights went through a complete cycle, from total darkness to extreme, hot brightness. A quadrophonic sound system filled the room with crooning, whistling harmonies of electronic feedback that seemed to whirl about the room.
In "Cut Piece," Ono mounted the stage holding a pair of scissors and dressed only in a white gown. At her invitation, members of the audience cut off the garment, small piece by small piece, until she stood before them stark naked.
Ono said in 1965: "I want to excite people, to loosen their oppression by giving them something to work with, to build on. They shouldn't be frightened of creating themselves." Ono also staged a number of events with her husband, John Lennon (the one-time Beatle who was murdered in 1980). The couple orchestrated an "open honeymoon" following their 1969 marriage and a "bed-in" that same year in Toronto, during which they recorded their hit song "Give Peace a Chance" (with Timothy Leary and other pop luminaries).
Ono's solo musical compositions might be described as avant-garde rock in which everyday sounds are integrated into the musical patterns and commonplace subjects of the lyrics. While performing "Lets Piece" in 1972, she had her musicians exchange instruments and play the highest possible notes for as long as it took her to eat an apple.
Recently, Ono has been involved in numerous fine arts projects. Some of these, such as last year's reworking on the theme of Acorns, involve interactivity on the Internet, while her installation piece at ArtCommotion played with notions of truth in the electronic domain. [show less]