More than four decades after Yoko Ono staged an unofficial Museum of Modern Art exhibition — a 1971 takeover titled Museum of Modern [F]art, in which she claimed to have let flies loose on the museum campus and asked visitors to find them around the city — the museum is officially welcoming the performance artist. Beginning May 17th, the New York institution will house Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960 – 1971, a retrospective of approximately 125 objects, works on paper, installations, performances, recordings and films all made in the decade-plus leading up to her inaugural exhibit.
Among the works that will be displayed are Painting to Be Stepped On, a 1960 and 1961 work that invited viewers to become one with her art, and more conceptual pieces like her book of instructions titled Grapefruit (1964) and a piece of fruit on Plexiglas dubbed Apple (1966). The exhibit will also include a collection of bisected household items titled Half-a-Room (1967).
Some of her performances and films will also be on display, including Cut Piece (1964), in which Ono asked viewers to slash off pieces of her clothing as she sat quietly, Film No. 4 (1966-67), which shows a sequence of nude buttocks in motion as a commentary on classism. Elements of her Bed-In (1969) and War Is Over! If You Want It campaign (1969), both of which she made in collaboration with husband John Lennon, will also be included.
An illustrated exhibition guide, containing three newly commissioned essays evaluating Ono’s early years, will also be available. It will also include Ono’s own insights and drawings.
The exhibition comes with the acquisition of more than 100 pieces of art from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift and was organized, in part, by Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA’s chief curator at large who also worked on the museum’s upcoming Björk exhibit.
One Woman Show will open on May 17th and will run until September 7th.