Voice Piece For Soprano

Yoko Ono performing Voice Piece for Soprano, 1961. Photo courtesy of Lenono Photo Archive

 

“The only sound that exists to me is the sound of the mind.” Yoko Ono, 1966

Listen presents a selection of music by pioneering artist, musician, and activist Yoko Ono (b. 1933). For over six decades, Ono’s powerful body of work has challenged and dissolved boundaries between visual art, music, performance, poetry, and activism. At the core of Ono’s art lies an exploration of and conviction in the imaginative, boundless capacity of the human mind.

 

Voice Piece For Soprano

Yoko Ono, Voice Piece for Soprano, 1961, first published in Grapefruit (Tokyo: Wunternaum Press, 1964)

 

Trained as a musician since her childhood in Tokyo, Ono moved to New York City in the mid-1950s, where she became closely associated with the Fluxus movement and a number of avant-garde artists and composers, including John Cage, Ornette Coleman, George Maciunas, and La Monte Young.

 

Program cover for Royal Albert Hall concert, London, February 29, 1968, with Yoko Ono, Ornette Coleman, David Izenzon, Charles Haden, Edward Blackwell, photo courtesy of Lenono Photo Archive

Program cover for Royal Albert Hall concert, London, February 29, 1968, with Yoko Ono, Ornette Coleman, David Izenzon, Charles Haden, Edward Blackwell, photo courtesy of Lenono Photo Archive

 

In 1964, Ono self-published Grapefruit, a seminal collection of conceptual artworks that includes “instruction pieces” for music, painting, events, poetry, and objects. Her “instruction pieces,” which Ono continues to create and publish in various formats today, invite others to physically or imaginatively add to and activate the piece. For Ono, the instruction pieces—which instruct readers to use their minds to imagine a whole new limitless sphere of sound—began “from realizing the limitations of our scoring, and suggesting an alternative to normal Western classical musical notations” (Ono, 2001).

 

Yoko Ono, Secret Piece, 1953, first published in Grapefruit (Tokyo: Wunternaum Press, 1964)

Yoko Ono, Secret Piece, 1953, first published in Grapefruit (Tokyo: Wunternaum Press, 1964)

 

Yoko Ono: Listen is organized by Curatorial Assistant Megan Hyde and Head Registrar and Collections Manager Elizabeth Karp in collaboration with Air Talk, an open group that meets Fridays at noon in the Tang exhibition We The People to discuss, listen, and share Ono’s artwork. For information on how to participate visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Air-Talk/233692530091236

 

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Yoko Ono: Listen (Elevator Music 23)

January 26 – May 19, 2013

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Phone: 518 580-8080
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