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VAG: Art and activism of Yoko Ono and John Lennon

John Lennon & Yoko Ono Planting Acorns at Coventry 1968 First public art collaboration. Photo by Keith McMillan ©Yoko Ono

The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) presents Growing Freedom: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko, an unique exhibition that celebrates the work of renown conceptual and performance artist of the 20th and 21st century.

As you tour the exhibition Growing Freedom: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko, you will find that it is organized in two parts.

The first part focuses on Ono’s instruction works, which breaks down barriers between artist disciplines and emphasizes her radical approach to art making.

Above Photo by Keith McMillan ©Yoko Ono

VAG Yoko Ono John Lennon
Yoko Ono Cut Piece 1964/1965 Performed by the artist, as part of NEW WORKS OF YOKO ONO, Carnegie Recital Hall, New York City, March 21, 1965 Photo: Minoru Niizuma © Yoko Ono Courtesy of Yoko Ono

VAG Yoko Ono exhibition invites viewers to participate

This is done by inviting the viewer to participate in the artist process, Ono not only creates works that continue to grow and change, but also thwarts the conventions of the art market.

The VAG Yoko Ono exhibition invites visitors to complete a work of art such as the Painting to Hammer a Nail, 1966 / 2021 where you hammer a nail into a blank white canvas and writing about their mothers on a sticky note and attaching it to the gallery wall, My Mommy is Beautiful 2004 / 2021.

VAG Yoko Ono John Lennon
John Lennon and Yoko Ono Bed In, Montreal 1969. Photo by Ivor Sharp ©Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono and John Lennon peace campaign

The second part of the exhibition presents an arc of co-projects for peace undertaken by Ono and Lennon.

Most notability is the War is Over! (If you want it) peace campaign (1969) and Bed-in for Peace (1969) images which features the stories of various people who participated in Ono and Lennon’s art projects, told in their own voices and words.

VAG Yoko Ono John Lennon
Yoko Ono and John Lennon “Bed-In For Peace” 1969 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Canada. Photo by Ivor Sharp. ©Yoko Ono

Canadian connection

In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono visited Montreal and Ottawa which included a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to promote world peace is part of this exhibition.

The “power to imagine is the power for action” was my take away from this exhibition, reflecting our activisim past and present.

Growing Freedom: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko exhibition is at the VAG until May 1, 2022.

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