|photograph of Yoko Ono is from here|
Before we get to the articles, immediately below are sister and brother, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, singing "Happy Birthday" to Yoko Ono in English and German--and she's there, in Berlin!!! Her son Sean Ono Lennon is MC'ing the event. You get to hear him briefly at the end.
See *here* for more on that special concert for her.
(Please click on the article titles to link back to their source website.)
February 16, 2013|By John Timpane
www.philly.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
February 18 is Yoko Ono’s 80th birthday—it’s a day to celebrate her art, music and activism. She’s done more in the last year than most of us do in a decade: campaigned against fracking and honored Julian Assange; mounted a major retrospective of her art in London last summer at the prestigious Serpentine Gallery, and another, bigger one in Frankfurt last week at the celebrated Kunsthalle Schirn; and made music with the Plastic Ono Band.
The anti-fracking campaign has been her biggest political undertaking in several years. First there were the billboards and full-page ads in The New York Times (and also The Nation): “Imagine There’s No Fracking”—addressed to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, signed “Yoko and Sean” (her son, Sean Ono Lennon).
But the anti-fracking campaign involves a lot more than billboards. She organized Artists Against Fracking, and signed up more than 200 people, including Salman Rushdie, Jeff Koons, Alec Baldwin, Martha Stewart, David Geffen, Anne Hathaway, Jimmy Fallon—and Lady Gaga, with her 34 million Twitter followers. In Albany in January she delivered an anti-fracking petition to Governor Cuomo with more than 50,000 signatures. Also in January she and Sean and Susan Sarandon led a bus tour of Dimock, Pennsylvania, where the local water supply has been contaminated by fracking. And now she is running a new TV ad.
She explained the problem with fracking concisely in The New York Times letters column in December: “Evidence shows that there is no amount of regulation that can make fracking safe.… 6 percent of the wells leak immediately and 60 percent leak over time, poisoning drinking water and putting the powerful greenhouse gas methane into our atmosphere… We need to develop truly clean energy, not dirty water created by fracking.”
And the campaign had a victory last week, when Governor Cuomo announced a delay in the decision on fracking for more study of health effects. The New York Times story quoted Donald Trump as spokesman for the pro-fracking forces, and Yoko as the voice of the opposition.
“Imagine There’s No Fracking” of course recalls a certain song that begins “Imagine there’s no heaven,” which in turn was based on Yoko’s 1964 book Grapefruit, with its conceptual art “instructions”: “imagine one thousand suns in the sky…” The anti-fracking billboards also recall her antiwar activism in the 1960s, when she and Lennon put up billboards in Times Square in 1969, and then in cities all over the world: “War is Over: If You Want It.”
On another front, she honored Julian Assange at a public event in Manhattan on February 3. At her annual Courage Award ceremony, she told an audience of activists, artists and some diplomats that “Julian Assange took a courageous step by rightfully returning what belongs to the public domain. For that reason, I believe we need to stand behind him.” Assange, who has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, accepted the award via two of his legal counselors: Baltasar Garzón Real of Spain—he’s the prosecutor who pursued Pinochet for crimes against humanity—and Michael Ratner, the legendary President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who delivered Assange’s acceptance speech to the audience that included Laurie Anderson, John Waters, Lou Reed and Daniel Ellsberg.
Earlier in 2012 Yoko honored Russia’s feminist punk band Pussy Riot, whose members are currently in jail after criticizing Vladimir Putin. She also paid tribute to Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while she was protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes.
Then there are the retrospectives of her career as an artist, a career which began before the Beatles and continues today, fifty years later. From the beginning she has mixed conceptual art and performance art. Her work has been playful and sometimes painful, and includes films as well as those “instructions” that require the viewer’s participation.
One of my favorite recent discoveries was a piece in the highly-regarded land art group show, “Ends of the Earth,” last year in LA at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I had never thought of Yoko doing work related to people like Robert Smithson of Spiral Jetty. But the land art show opened with Yoko’s Sky TV from 1966: an old TV set broadcasts a live feed, from a video camera on the roof, of the sky above the museum. It’s surprising and delightful, and “real” in way that’s different from everything else in the museum. It’s also a pioneering work of video art. (Sky TV is a permanent installation in New York City at the Asia Society.)
And we have her music—especially the unforgettable “Walking on Thin Ice” from December, 1980. The “Thin Ice” video is part of the Frankfurt retrospective, along with Sky TV.
And of course we have Lennon’s wonderful songs about her: from the 1969 song about their wedding, that begins “Standing on the dock in Southhampton” (the Beatles’ last number-one hit), to Lennon on the 1971 Imagine album, singing “In the middle of the night I call your name…” to 1980’s Double Fantasy, and “Even after all these years/I miss you when you’re not here…”
To celebrate her 80th birthday she’s playing a live concert in Berlin at the legendary Volksbuhne, the “People’s Theater,” with the current Plastic Ono Band, headed by Sean.
Happy Birthday, Yoko!
The largest-ever retrospective of works of Yoko Ono, once described by her late husband John Lennon as "the most famous unknown artist in the world", opened Friday in Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle.
Ono, who turns 80 next week, "is a unique, indeed perhaps even a mythical figure, not only in the art world, but in the field of music and the peace and feminist movements as well," said the museum's director Max Hollein.
Most people probably know Ono as the wife and widow of the Beatle, John Lennon who was shot dead outside his New York apartment in 1980.
And the two famously staged "Bed-Ins" in 1969 as a non-violent protest against war.
But Ono, born on February 18, 1933, was an avant-garde conceptual artist in her own right long before she met Lennon and was associated with the likes of composer John Cage and the founder of the Fluxus contemporary art movement, George Maciunas.
"She is familiar to practically everyone, yet only very few people are fully aware of the outstanding artistic oeuvre she has created. Yoko Ono's 80th birthday offers us an ideal opportunity to change that," Hollein said.
The exhibition, entitled "Half-a-wind show. A retrospective", surveys around 200 objects, films, spatial installations, photographs, drawings and textual pieces from the past 60 years of Ono's career.
It pays particular attention to works from the 1960s and 1970s, featuring groundbreaking works such as the "Instructions for Paintings" first shown in 1961 and 1962 and the performance "Cut Piece" from 1964, in which the audience was invited to cut the clothes from the artist's body with sharp scissors while she sat on the stage.
A number of large-scale installations and recent works are also on display and Ono has also developed a new work -- the installation and performance "Moving Mountains" -- specifically for the Frankfurt exhibition.
Curator Ingrid Pfeiffer said Ono's work "often tends toward the immaterial, the substance of which consists to a lesser extent of objects and installations but to a significant degree of ideas and texts. It is not easily presented."
Ono, wearing her trademark sunglasses, told a news conference that Lennon "used to say to me: 'bring me some truth'."
"We artists have the dignity to tell the truth to the people, unlike politicians," she said.
"But we only know half the truth. The other half is invisible. You have to imagine it, you are the creator, you have to participate. You change the world by being yourself."
The exhibition runs in Frankfurt until May 12 after which it will tour to Denmark and Austria and then move to the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao in Spain.