Item #2842 Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th. YOKO ONO, JOHN LENNON.
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th
Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th

Museum of Modern [F]art: Yoko Ono-one woman show, Dec. 1st - Dec. 15th

FIRST EDITION OF THE CATALOG FOR ONO’S FICTITIOUS ART SHOW, SIGNED BY ONO AND LENNON, AND WITH A CARICATURE DRAWING BY LENNON.

Inscribed on the cover in Ono’s hand: “To Jonas / Peace & Love, Yoko” and in Lennon’s hand “+ John” and with a caricature of both his and Ono’s faces. The recipient, Jonas Mekas (1922-2019) was the internationally renown Lithuanian-born but New York-based filmmaker, poet and artist, known as “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema."

One can view this ironic and subversive work by Yoko Ono as an embodiment of the Fluxus art movement. Fluxus projects were wide-ranging works that drew upon chance, audience participation, humor, and collaboration. In this way they paved the way for future generations of performance, video, and conceptual artists.

Early works by Yoko Ono were often based on instructions that the artist communicated to viewers in verbal or written form. For example, in one of her most well known works, Cut Piece (1964) she invited members of the audience to cut away a portion of her clothing. At turns poetic, humorous, and unsettling the piece relies on audience participation, demonstrating Ono’s embrace of the idea that art is live rather than static.

When Ono married John Lennon in 1968 she was catapulted onto the world stage, entering a world of unparalleled fame and public scrutiny. She faced the considerable challenge of remaining visible as an artist, not just a rock star’s wife. But she hewed to her craft and had her first museum exhibition, often a turning point in any artist’s career, in October 1971 at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. The New York Times covered the exhibition, writing Is Syracuse ready for Yoko Ono and John Lennon? That was the question here yesterday as the Everson Museum, which sees itself as a bastion of the avant‐garde set down in a cultural wasteland, opened the world's first museum show of Miss Ono's “conceptual” pieces, with her husband, the former Beatle, and others, as guest artists.

One might wonder what role the Everson show played in the development of Ono’s one-woman “exhibition” at MoMA, which she staged a few months later in December of 1971. By the early 1970’s MoMA rarely showed art by either women or Asian artists, and in Museum of Modern [F]art Ono famously claimed the museum space for herself.

It is a multifaceted work. Ono first took out an ad in The Village Voice promoting a one-woman show at MoMA running December 1 - 15, 1971. She then produced a film during which pedestrians are interviewed in the street and asked whether they had seen Ono’s exhibition at the MoMA, to which most respond with something like “no, but I plan to”. The subversive action continued when Ono purportedly released her body weight in flies into the Museum of Modern Art. In this, the accompanying exhibition catalog, she designed 138 postcards of various locations around New York City, each featuring a large arrow indicating the location of a fly, with a thumbnail close-up of the insect on the other side. The reader is invited to cut the postcards out and send them to friends. Other images include a photograph of Lennon, an advertisement for the nonexistent show torn from a newspaper and displayed at the MoMA ticket counter, maps and more.

At first glance Museum of Modern [F]art is a light and humorous piece. But in reality it carries quite a bit of weight. It speaks to the representation of women and Asian artists within the art world establishment while also demonstrating key aspects of Fluxus like instructions, audience participation, and humor. It was also prescient. In 2015 MoMA held a one-woman show, Yoko Ono: One Woman Show from 1960 - 1971  that uses the 1971 piece as a departure point for exploring Yoko Ono’s performance, film, and written works.

Artist's book in the form of an exhibition catalogue. [New York]. Published by Yoko Ono, 1971. Quarto (305x305 mm, 12x12 in.), original wrappers; custom box. Illustrated with photographs by Iain McMillan and Ono; without the copyright stamp found in some copies. Light toning, chipping to top right of wrappers.

This is the only example we have found that has been on the market signed by both Ono and Lennon.

Price: $11,000 .

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