Art is my life and my life is art.
A lot of people, including myself until quite recently, know Yoko Ono for one majorly negative thing: allegedly breaking up the Beatles. Even now, her name is used as a synonym for "evil female interloper." But Yoko Ono is so much more than that: she's a very important feminist role model. Like many women, Ono's identity has unfairly disappeared into her husband's. We think of her more for who she loved and who she married than what she personally accomplished. It's time for us to forget everything we thought we knew about this deeply complex woman and explore the major contributions she made to the world of art, music, and activism. Who is Yoko? Let's find out.
Born February 18, 1933, Yoko Ono is a multimedia artist, musician, and peace activist. Ono grew up in Tokyo and moved to New York in 1953, where she enrolled in Sarah Lawrence College. She started her art career out of her Chamber Street loft in TriBeca and became heavily involved in New York’s bohemian art scene.
During the first 11 years of her art career, Ono moved around New York, Tokyo, and London. She established herself as a pioneer in the conceptual art, experimental film, and performance art movements. Her work was radical and questioned the division of art and everyday life by asking viewers to participate rather than simply observe.
In 1966, Ono met John Lennon at her own art exhibition in London, and they became a couple in 1968. The two were married in 1969, and they famously used their honeymoon as a stage for public protests against the Vietnam War with their Bed-Ins for Peace in Amsterdam and Montreal.
Today, Ono - now 82! - continues her social activism. In 2002, she established the biennial $50,000 Lennon Ono Grant for Peace and in 2012, co-founded the group Artists Against Fracking.
In 2015, The Museum of Modern Art in New York City presented its first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the work of Yoko Ono. The exhibit started with Ono’s unofficial MoMA debut in late 1971. Over 40 years later, Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 brought together approximately 125 of her early objects, works on paper, installations, performances, audio recordings, and films, alongside rarely seen archival materials.
Let's celebrate Yoko Ono's incredible life and contributions to the feminist cause with these beautiful photographs and inspiring quotes.
Ono and mother, Isoko
Ono and father, Eisuke
Experiencing sadness and anger can make you feel more creative, and by being creative, you can get beyond your pain or negativity.
I relate to happiness as an ecstatic moment - something you don't create, you encounter.
I trust myself. You need that to survive.
Cut Piece, 1964
Ono with her second husband Anthony Cox and daughter Kyoko Chan Cox
I have only one life, so I want to make sure it's a good one.
The universe, when you leave it alone, is going to be beautiful.
Ono with John Lennon on their wedding day, March 20, 1969
The regret of my life is that I have not said 'I love you' often enough.
Women are put in a position of feeling embarrassed about their bodies. It's so ridiculous, but also astounding - we have to always be apologetic about having created the human race.
David Bowie, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Ono, Lennon and Roberta Flack1, 975 Grammy Awards
Controversy is part of the nature of art and creativity.
Ono, Lennon, and Andy Warhol
Ono and Linda McCartney
Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world. Just start thinking peace, and the message will spread quicker than you think.
Music is like my security blanket.
Ono, Lennon, and their son Sean
We are all dreamers creating the next world, the next beautiful world for ourselves and for our children.
It's a waste of time to think that if you colored a painting red what might have happened if you painted it black.
When people don't understand my work, I don't feel like explaining.
Every drop in the ocean counts
Art for me is like breathing.
Still rocking at her 82nd birthday concert, February 2015
You change the world by being yourself.
Images via Facebook and Instagram
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Olivia’s first sentence was “No talk, just laugh” and since then, she’s made it her business to find the humorous side of life and share her absurd observations with others. She’s a writer, a lover of all things pop culture, and she can’t fall asleep without having 30 Rock on in the background. If you like looking at pictures of food and random dogs, you should check out Olivia’s Instagram.