“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.
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.
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: 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
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