Tomorrow is Yoko Ono’s 75th birthday. You have most likely heard of Yoko Ono, but you may not know that she has now spent almost 50 years creating art that is provocative, fun, spirited and meaningful. She records music, creates and gives performances, makes films, exhibits art, and much more. You may remember “cut piece,” performed a number of times over the years, in which she sits on a stage fully clothed and invites the audience to cut off her clothing with scissors. Somewhere I still have my copy of “Grapefruit,” a book on delightful, surprising “instruction pieces.” On the inside flap, for example, she writes “Burn this book after you read it.”
She continues to be a wise and global voice for peace and understanding that is more powerful for being constant over decades. Recently, she dedicated the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland that will beam a light into the air between October 9 and December 8 each year. This past January, her full-page ad in the New York Times said simply “Imagine Peace.”
Yoko was my first true inspiration as a creative woman. Like most other people, I first came to know about her because of John Lennon. I was about 12. I ate up stories of her wildly creative, philosophical, heart-filled art; they opened up within me unexpected realms of the possible. Every piece expressed a sense that the world is, or should be, a place of joy and fun and spontaneity while at the same time envisioning a world at peace with itself. I first learned from her that creating art is not for sissies, but worth dedicating your life to, that love truly does overcome all, and that one way to overcome unfair and harsh criticism is to outlast it.
You can see more art, find out what is going on in her world, and even wish her a happy birthday (if you do it fast!) at a webpage dedicated to her at http://www.a-i-u.net
I love that I will be celebrating my 50th birthday within two months of her 75th birthday in the city that I moved to in my 20s because she, John, and Patti Smith all lived there and loved it.
Happy Birthday, Yoko.