Tag Archive | John Lennon

Yoko Ono’s One Woman Show 1960 – 1971 at MOMA

Yoko Show Announcement
All Photos By Gail. Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail.

99% of the time, Yoko Ono is a subject that just takes too long to talk about. Whether you love her or hate her, few would deny that Ono is one of the more polarizing Pop Culture figures of the past fifty years. Most people likely know her as John Lennon’s second wife, as well as his primary post-Beatles artistic/musical partner, and have probably based their opinion on the couple’s various collaborations — which are quite well known. But before Yoko Ono even met John Lennon, she was a groundbreaking visual artist whose extremely unique and original ideas about what constitutes a viable work of ‘Art’ were fucking with people’s heads. Just being serious.

I first visited Yoko Ono’s One Woman Show 1960 – 1971 at MOMA way back in May, and it’s taken me this long to write about it because I had no idea of how to distill the experience. While I am not at all a fan of Yoko Ono’s music (more about that later), I’ve been conflicted over my intense desire to make hilarious jokes about certain works that I saw in this exhibit, and an equally strong urge to find many aspects of her artistic output not only brilliant, but wildly thought-provoking. The exhibit is only up for another month at this point, so I’m going to post a selection of photos I took at MOMA of various works that caught my attention for whatever reasons, and make comments about them.

Grapefruit Light a Match

One of the highlights of the exhibit is Yoko’s book of artwork concepts, which is called Grapefruit. Grapefruit is a book comprising over 150 distinct artworks. One of the preliminary editions of the book is displayed at One Woman Show in its entirety. The instructions for each work range from the possible to the improbable, often relying on the viewer’s imagination to complete the work. For example, Earth Piece (1963) asks the viewer to “listen to the sound of the earth turning,” whereas Line Piece to La Monte Young I (1964) gives a more literal instruction: “Draw a line. Erase line.”

During the year leading up to the publication of Grapefruit, Ono created this manuscript of 151 typewritten texts with handwritten ink additions, each one transcribed onto the back of a postcard. She then mailed the postcards from Japan to George Maciunas in New York, who hoped to publish her collected works as a Fluxus Edition (Ono ultimately self published the volume in 1964). Many of the artworks presented in this exhibition are based on instructions from this Grapefruit typescript.

Here are a few random pages of Grapefruit from the exhibit:

Portrait of Mary

Clock Piece

Tuna Sandwich Piece

These works may seem absurd and silly, but consider the fact that she had to think of all of these different, mostly abstract ideas, fully conceptualize them, and then write them down. And that’s kind of intense and impressive, I think.

Grapefruit Pages on Wall

There are 150 of these ideas and you can read them all! It is pretty crazy.

Bag Piece (1964)

This photo is from Yoko’s 1964 performance work, Bag Piece, where essentially she is on stage inside a bag. It is considered to be a revolutionary work of performance art. Also, it is a joke that writes itself. Art!

To See The Sky Base of Staircase

This spiral staircase is part of a new work which was created just for this show, called To See The Sky. To participate in the work, you climb up to the top of the staircase — which is a bit wobbly, and only one person is allowed on it at a time. Some people were actually afraid to climb it, but I had no such issues.

To See The Sky Looking Up Staircase

You can see that the staircase goes up pretty high.

Spiral Staircase from Top

I took this photo when I was almost at the top. You can see my friend Jamie looking up and waving at me. Hi Jamie!

To See The Sky

When you get to the top of the staircase, you look up, and you See The Sky. Art!

Three Spoons (1967)

This piece is called Three Spoons, but you can see there are four spoons.

Ceiling Painting

This piece is called Ceiling Painting, which is famous for being the artwork that convinced John Lennon that Yoko was the woman for him. What you are meant do is climb to the top of the ladder, stand fully upright on it, and use the magnifying glass to read what is printed on the canvas, which is mounted to the ceiling. Of course, there no way the museum will allow random visitors to do this, because personal injury lawsuits, but I will just tell you now that the canvas is printed with word, “Yes.”

Still from Fly (1970)
Still from Fly (1970)

In 1970, Yoko made a short film of a fly crawling on a man’s face.

Plastic Ono Band Poster

The exhibit also features a separate gallery inside of a soundproof (thank god) room, where you can look through memorabilia from Yoko’s “musical venture,” the Plastic Ono Band. In this room, you can have your eardrums excoriated by sounds that cannot accurately be described. No me gusta.

White Chess Set (1966)
White Chess Set (1966)

This White Chess Set is the most straightforward piece in the entire exhibit.

Apple (1966)
Apple (1966). Plexiglass Pedestal, Brass Plaque, and Apple.

Water Drop Painting
Waterdrop Painting (1961)

Half a Room 2
Half-A-Room (1967)

Half-A-Room is a group of domestic objects cut in half and mostly painted white. The installation was part of Ono’s 1967 exhibition, Yoko Ono Half-A-Wind Show, at the Lisson Gallery in London.

Air Bottels (1967)
Air Bottles (1967)

The exhibition was the first to include a collaborative work made by Ono and John Lennon, Air Bottles (1967, pictured above). That work came about when Ono told Lennon about this ‘half’ idea that she had for the show. He responded, “Why don’t you put the other half in these bottles,” and thus Air Bottles was conceived as the installation’s counterpoint.

Half a Room

This is the first occasion in which Half-A-Room is exhibited as it was originally displayed, installed directly on the gallery floor.

War is Over Poster
War is Over for $15.00 in the Gift Shop

Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 may not be everybody’s Bag (see what did there), but if you’ve got an open mind and a pretty broad taste for contemporary art, you may find that Yoko’s art changes your perspective a bit. And you know that can’t be bad.

Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 will be on Exhibit Through September 7th, 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art, Located at 11 West 53rd Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenues, in NYC.

More Of Mr. OneTeas’s Wack Donald’s Project: John Lennon and Alfred E. Newman

Wack Donald's Lennon and Newman
Photo By Gail

It looks like street artist Mr. OneTeas is at it again with his very fun Wack Donald’s Project, in which he paints the clown face of Ronald McDonald on various pop culture icons. I spotted John Lennon and Alfred E. Newman side by side on a traffic barrier at 26th Street and 11th Avenue in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Show Review: Lennon: Through a Glass Onion

Lennon Glass Onion Poster

For Beatles fans who crave an authentic performance experience of the group’s expansive catalog of music, there is certainly no shortage of grand scale productions, which range from Rain and Let it Be on Broadway to 1964 The Tribute – an act that regularly sells out Carnegie Hall. But for fans who maintain a keen interest in the life and post-Beatles career of John Lennon specifically, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion offers something completely different.

Now in evening and matinee performances at the Union Square Theater, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion, is an intimate, two-man show featuring esteemed actor and singer John R. Waters and accompanist Stewart D’Arrietta, which originally saw sell-out tours in the duo’s native Australia. While there are no dazzling lights, clever sets, informative backdrops or special effects to bolster this very stripped down production, what you get is a heartfelt acoustic performance (guitar and piano – and D’Arrietta’s piano playing is quite excellent) of a selection of over thirty of John Lennon’s best and most autobiographical songs – both written with Paul McCartney while in The Beatles, and written and recorded by Lennon as a solo artist.

Tying the musical numbers together is Water’s biographical narrative of John Lennon’s often traumatic youth and tumultuous adulthood, the ups and down of which are punctuated and fleshed out by songs he wrote at that time. Although Water’s speaking voice is appealingly similar to Lennon’s, his (often quite gravelly) singing voice is not, so don’t expect the “close your eyes and imagine it is really him” effect that you can get with so many tributes. Through a Glass Onion is really more like watching two hardcore John Lennon fans perform his songs and talk about his life in a pub setting. This may or may not be your thing, so just know what you are walking into a ahead of time.

In order to fit thirty songs into a 90-minute run time, many of the songs are performed as excerpts of various lengths, but you get the idea. Likewise, some liberty is taken with traditional arrangements, which finds “Help!” – one of The Beatles‘ most exhilarating anthems – performed almost as a dirge. Sometimes the alternative arrangements work and other times not so much.

It’s also unclear how much of the biographical information is simply improvised or creatively extrapolated based on various facts but, again, it is easy to imagine that Waters is speaking as Lennon and the story all comes together. As an aside, fans seeking more information about John Lennon’s life as a child and teenager, including the not-very-happy story about his relationship with his mother Julia – which had such a profound influence on so many of his songs — might be better served by the 2009 film, Nowhere Boy. You can find it on Netflix.

An added note about the venue, for those who’ve not yet been to the Union Square Theater, is that you are in for treat in this pristinely maintained, old school theater where every very comfy seat offers optimal viewing, so you don’t have to stretch your ticket buying budget to get the best seat in the house. The theater is also conveniently located three blocks uptown from the Union Square subway hub and is within blocks of dozens of excellent restaurants — so you can plan a night of it!

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion will run through February 22nd, 2015 at the Union Square Theater, located at 100 East 17th Street (Between Park Ave South and Irving Place), New York, NY 10003. Visit Lennon Onstage Dot Com for more information about the show, to get show times and to purchase tickets!

John Lennon Throws Metal on Cover of Yellow Submarine Album

Beatles YELLOW SUBMARINE
Image Source

Snagged this one from the Huffington Post

The Beatles are credited with being the first to do many things such as printing lyrics on a pop album, creating music videos and holding a stadium concert, but most bizarre is their role in the “devil horns” hand gesture taking off. John Lennon’s cartoon figure on the Yellow Submarine cover is apparently the first time the symbol was on the cover of an album and is one of the earliest instances associated with a rock band, ever.

Video Clip of The Week: The Griswolds “Red Tuxedo”



This song reminds me of going to Prom if Prom had been a halfway decent memory for me. See how many pop culture icons you can spot in this lovely and whimsical video by The Griswolds for their very sweetly romantic and nostalgia inducing song, “Red Tuxedo.” Find out more about The Griswolds at their FaceBook page, found at This Link! Enjoy!

John Lennon Carnivale Float

John Lennon Carnivale Float

Canivale is going on in Tuscan city of Viareggio this week and it looks completely fucking insane! This year’s parade featured a huge Beatles-themed float with a massive John Lennon. When his giant moving hands meet in the middle, they read HELP!

OMG!

Thanks to Melissa Altman for the Image!