Yes. It's true and it makes you smile. I don't like Jay Leno but a few years ago she was on his show and she talked about basically "Love thine enemy" but she said it in a really practical, intelligent way and it was something I needed to hear at the time. I've always liked her, and when I started looking at her art and seeing that there was a Yoko before there was a John and Yoko, I really felt that she is brave and that there is a lot of humor in her work.
also, Walking On Thin Ice... She should do an album with Pet Shop Boys.
I was at MOMA (where this piece is installed) last weekend. It is just a mic in front of a wall with the inscription:
Against the Wind
Against the Wall
Against the Sky
I watched people walk up to the mic and give random little screams and yelps. Really, it sounded like they had stubbed their toes or sat on a tack. No one had even the slightest notion of how to scream against the sky, or the wind, or even make any noise other than a random little "yip" or a bit of a roar.
I've always rejected conceptual art out of hand as masturbatory navel-gazing, but I have to admit that the FLUXUS and "no wave" movement here in New York did have some interesting moments, and some pretty interesting artists came out of it (John Cage did rather well). Yoko was, of course, a big part of that.
Yoko had an accompanying piece out in the sculpture garden called "Wish Tree." it was a tree next to which was a box of tags. People wrote down their most profound wishes and tied them to the tree. There was a crowd of people gathered round, reading other people's wishes, and it was kind of solemn, and very moving. I wrote mine down and tied it to the tree; it felt like a memorial, and a welcome moment of contemplation on a hot, busy summer afternoon.
I think that Yoko did a fine job of screaming at a wall. She's got quite a pair of lungs for a woman nearly eighty years old. I bet she'll be screaming 'til the end, and after what she's been through I wouldn't blame her one bit. Lord knows Yoko has her flaws, but she's been almost single-mindedly dedicated to her art for decades, despite derision and outright hatred being vented at her from nearly all quarters. She was doing this before she met John Lennon, and she would most probably have succeeded even if she had never laid eyes on him.
Yoko may indeed be some sort of heartless, self-promoting provocatrix, or she may just be dealing with losing her husband in the way that she's always dealt with everything - with a public display. I've been a big Lennon fan since I was a kid, and I still tear up a bit at the Strawberry Fields memorial whenever I happen to pass by and see people laying their notes and flowers on the ground. I think that Yoko is making sure that John is still a presence in the world. Maybe you're right, though, maybe she's only in it for the money - I'd hate to think so.
I walked up to the mic at MOMA and thought about giving it a try - to vent anguish and joy in equal measure, but I couldn't do it, not in front of all those people. Now I kinda wish I had.
Well said, and I like this. I like works that invite the audience to participate directly. Actually, I think that the audience, as Olafur Eliasson advocates, should always be thought of as participants rather than passive viewers. And for those who say they can't take it seriousely: art does not always have to be serious. It's ok to laugh.
The thing with the tree and the wishes, though, I think that is actually a Japanese tradition, isn't it? Kewpie?