Bed Peace Amsterdam

Forty years after their landmark peace initiative at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, John and Yoko are back, with a major exhibition of John Lennon’s art work on view at the Hilton Amsterdam from 20 – 22 March, 2009. The exhibition is being held under the umbrella of a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Bed-In for Peace taking place at the Hilton Amsterdam.

Produced by Yoko Ono and The Estate of John Lennon/Bag One Arts this will be the largest exhibition ever held of John Lennon’s art, with a total of 190 works, many of which have never shown before in Europe — including a limited edition print of the hand-written text for “Give Peace A Chance” – an anthem of hope most appropriate in this time of conflict throughout the world.

Give Peace A Chance lyrics

In addition, we are particularly excited and honored to feature a private collection of handwritten documents and sketches produced by John and Yoko during their stay at the Hilton in 1969. These items include an amusing, highly personal, and tender question-and-answer series held between the Ono-Lennons and a young Dutch journalist, Constance Vrijdags, who was able to sneak into their room during the staging of the Bed-In For Peace.

The Estate of John Lennon/Bag One Arts notes its gratitude to the owner, who has allowed us to exhibit these works, and to share them with the world on this occasion.

Bag One Bag

Other items of particular interest include:

*Works from the “Bag One Portfolio,” a series of prints produced and hand-signed by John Lennon, based on drawings he created after the Bed In as a wedding gift to his bride;

*The hand-written text to “Imagine”;

*The entire series of “The Drawings for Sean,” a particularly tender suite of drawings for children of all ages, created with and for John & Yoko’s son Sean to teach him to read and write;

*A brand new series of prints, which will have their world premier at the Amsterdam Hilton exhibition

A number of the works in the exhibition are available for sale.

We are especially proud to present this rare and extraordinary exhibition now, when, in the face of unspeakable violence, John Lennon’s legacy of peace has never mattered more, and his call for a “brotherhood of man” resonates across the world.

John and Yoko drawing

About John Lennon’s Artwork

Though John Lennon is best known throughout the world for the music and ideas that shaped a generation and a way of life for millions in the 1960s and 1970s, few know that Lennon’s first passion was his artwork, and that it was for this that he most wished to achieve recognition. Before his tragic death in 1980, Lennon told his wife Yoko that there were two things he hoped to accomplish in his lifetime: to record another album and to be recognized as a visual artist. The first dream was fulfilled with the recording with Yoko of “Double Fantasy”; but his life was cut short before he had a chance to achieve the second.

In what she has called a “silent promise to share John’s love for art with the rest of the world,” Yoko Ono Lennon began producing a series of fine art prints from John’s original drawings in 1986. The works, produced in limited editions of 300, were selected from Lennon’s sketchbooks; they are deeply personal images of his family, his life, his experiences. In many ways, they form an intimate visual diary of John’s thoughts and feelings during the last — and happiest — years of his life. Some of the prints have been hand colored by Yoko, making them among the couple’s many collaborative projects. The print collection is an ongoing program, and new images are added regularly.

We feel that the collaborative nature of these works makes them particularly suitable for this anniversary event, which was, in itself, a collaborative art work created by the Ono-Lennons as a mission for peace.

Our Gift – For Peace

For the event, Yoko Ono has also donated a print which will be sold at the exhibition by raffle (tickets 10 euros each). All monies from the raffle will be donated to War Child at the request of the Amsterdam Hilton. A percentage of further proceeds from the exhibition will also be donated to The Steven Vincent Foundation. Mr. Vincent, an American journalist, was kidnapped and murdered in Iraq in 2005. The foundation, created in his honor, assists the families of journalists in war-torn, third world countries who are killed in the line of duty, and provides funds for Iraqi refugees.

Bed Peace Amsterdam

The Estate of John Lennon/Bag One Arts and The Hilton Hotel

The Estate of John Lennon/Bag One Arts is particularly pleased to hold this event at the Hilton. The link between Hilton Hotels and the Ono-Lennons is well-known, having been immortalized in Lennon’s “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” For their honeymoon, the Ono-Lennons staged the historic 1969 Bed-In For Peace at the Hilton Amsterdam – the event that this exhibition commemorates now.

Subsequent to this, John created a portfolio of loving, humorous, at times erotic drawings depicting their wedding and honeymoon as a gift for his new bride. Cinnamon Press, in collaboration with John Lennon, published a selection of these drawings in 1970 as the “Bag One” portfolio, housed in a vinyl bag designed by couturier Ted Lapidus (one of which will also be on view). Highly controversial at the time they were produced, these prints are now in the collections of major museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York

Both the Estate of John Lennon/Bag One Arts and the Hilton Amsterdam view its inclusion as a kind of re-creation of the historic Bed-In For Peace initiative, and hope that it will serve as a reminder of the message for which John Lennon is best remembered to this day:

“Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”

Exhibition hours are from 11 am to 8 pm daily.

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