In 1971, Yoko Ono conceived a one-woman show at MoMA in which the artist released flies and, as they buzzed about, asked the public to follow them throughout the city. They didn’t, but that wasn’t the point. This was a guerrilla piece of performance art, very much unsanctioned by the institution.
But now Yoko Ono finally has her one-woman show at MoMA, called One Woman Show — what else? It’s the museum’s first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the Japanese conceptualist. A survey of her formative years, 1960 to 1971, the exhibition brings together roughly 125 of her early performances, installations, audio recordings, films, and objects.
A number of these re-examined early works were self-explanatory, for example Painting to Be Stepped On (1960). Others invited public participation, such as Cut Piece, in which viewers were asked to cut away bits of fabric from Ono’s clothing as she sat silently on a stage. This was a statement on gender roles and culture-based domesticity.
The exhibit ends with Bed-In (1969) and WAR IS OVER! if you want it (1969), around the time Ono met John Lennon and embarked on the next chapter of her career as a uber-famous artist, musician, and collaborator.
Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971, through September 7, 2015, MoMA, NYC