Yoko Ono is an uncompromising artistic visionary who was already an avant-garde superstar before she met John Lennon. Today, Yoko is finally recognized as an influential artist who pushes the boundaries of the art, film, music and theatre media. The present time marks a renewed resurgence of interest and celebration of her work. She has recently received high media profile due to the simultaneous reissue of her music catalog (including a boxed set) on the Rykodisc specialty label as well as for the premiere of her off-Broadway theatre piece Hiroshima. However these achievements obscure her body of 16 films made between 1964 and 1972, some in collaborative effort with her late husband.
When once asked what kind of artist she was, Yoko answered “I deal with music of the mind.” Her imaginative concepts presented in her films may not be hummable in everyone’s hit parade. However the thoughtfulness in examining new ways to explore issues strike a unique and resonant chord in the minds of many.
Since the 1960s, Ono has been an activist for peace and human rights. After their wedding, Lennon and Ono held a “Bed-In for Peace” in their honeymoon suite at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel in March 1969. The press fought to get in, presuming that the two would be having sex for their cameras, but they instead found a pair of newlyweds wearing pajamas and eager to talk about and promote world peace. Another Bed-In in May 1969 at the Queen Elizabeth Fairmont in Montreal, Canada, resulted in the recording of their first single, “Give Peace A Chance”, a Top 20 hit for the newly-christened Plastic Ono Band. Other demonstrations with John included Bagism. Introduced in Vienna, Bagism encouraged a disregard for physical appearance in judging others.
Yoko Ono can be viewed as a radical artist, someone who requires an open mind in order to have her work appreciated. She stretches the limits of what society views as acceptable and never ceases to create an opportunity for the viewer to step back and reflect.