This is the incredible story of Yoko Ono, an artist from the New York avant-garde, whose destiny was to fall in love with the world’s most famous man

This is the incredible story of Yoko Ono, an artist from the New York avant-garde, whose destiny was to fall in love with the world’s most famous man

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From Part I

Little Fame

In the mid-60s Yoko started to receive the artistic recognition she had longed for. Conceptual Art was already a fact and she was admired by the new generations as a pioneer. There are two works from this period that will have a huge impact: Cut Piece and Nº 5, known as Bottoms. In Cut Piece, Yoko seated over her legs, undaunted, allows and encourages the audience to cut her fine suit with a pair of scissors. The show ends when she is left almost naked. The second piece puts together in a video 365 butts from all nationalities, colors and gender. Looking from behind everybody looks the same.

 

John Lennon

While her “little” fame was growing in the avant-garde circles, Ono was invited to exhibit in the Indica Gallery in London. The night before the opening, a guy appeared that she barely recognized. Later on Yoko will admit that she was a complete underground snob and that even though she had heard about The Beatles, she was not interested at all. At the time John Lennon was already a bit disengage with his tremendously famous band, they could no longer sing at concerts because the screaming of fans was too loud. Wandering around the gallery he founds this strange Japanese installing her art.

At first he went up a ladder and read with a lens the Yes in the ceiling, he was taken by the positive message. He then proposes her to hammer the first nail in Painting to Hammer a Nail. Surprised, Yoko assures him that it is impossible before the opening unless he gives her 5 shillings. When Lennon proposes her to hammer an imaginary nail for 5 imaginary shillings, they make a deep click. Yoko feels that finally somebody understands her game.

The Big Fame

Because of her background, Yoko never realized what meant to be the wife of John Lennon. The effect on her world was huge considering she always felt as an outsider and that she had always been part of the underground world. She married one of the most famous men of the XXth century, a worshiped figure to this day.

Their story was one of an incredible love, which came with an incredible dependence. John Lennon didn´t want to leave her for one minute, taking her to the recording studio and to any public appearance of The Beatles. This infuriated the fans and the British press, known for its sensationalism ¿The British Darling involved with a Japanese experimental artist? Nobody saw that coming. Later on Yoko realized that their union diminished both careers. The avant-garde sought that Yoko had become too mainstream, and Lennon´s fans, that he had abandoned his band for this strange woman.

New York

To escape from the constant harassment of the British press, they decided to live in New York. It was 1970 and the rejection towards the Vietnam War was intensifying. John and Yoko became fundamental figures in the peace and civil rights movements. They started to use on their favor what they hated the most; their fame and visibility. All this period is portrayed in details in this article. An incredible fact is how they were constantly under surveillance by the FBI with Lennon risking a deportation ordered directly from the White House. The year of Nixon’s re-election was the first with voters over 18 (instead of 21). Nixon and his team were terrified of how the teenage idol could influence the young voters, so they wanted him far away. Finally, in ’75, after the Watergate scandal, he obtained his definitive residency.

John Lennon’s assassination

For the next years, the couple shut their artistic careers. Lennon stayed at home taking care of their child Sean and Yoko administrated the huge commercial legacy of The Beatles. They turned away from the public eye and tried to lead a normal life in their apartment at the Dakota, a famous gothic building in the Upper West Side. In 1980 they decide to return to their artistic pursuits and recorded Double Fantasy, which surprisingly had a good reception by the critic and Ono’s songs were acclaimed.

The 8th of December they were returning home late at night from the recording studio, when a fan called David Chapman gave Lennon 5 shots at a three-meter distance. Yoko was by his side. For the next weeks she couldn’t move out of bed, she recalls how all her body shakened as in a strong withdrawal syndrome. The immense grief of losing the love of her life.

The mourning was long and difficult. But in this period, for the first time, the public started to love her. Suddenly everybody was interested about her, about her work and her life. Months later she released her album Seasons of Glass, which features Lennon’s bloody glasses on the cover. The songs deal with his death. From this moment, Yoko started to use her characteristic dark sunglasses, as a way of seeing but not being seen back. In her great resilience power, this woman keeps going as an artistic and public figure till today.

La icónica imagen que fue portada de Rolling Stones, sacada el mismo día de su muerte por Annie Leibovitz

Be part of KatariMag

In KatariMag we love art, beauty and ideas. We devote hundreds of hours to research and write to deliver the best stories of contemporary culture.

But the love of art also has its needs. So if KatariMag moves you and entertains you, be part of our community and collaborate with us! You can choose between PayPal or Patreon


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