Occupation: Musician; Social Activist; Conceptual Artist; Performance Artist
Movement: Fluxus; Peace Movement; New Wave
Education: Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers
Famous Artworks
“Bagism,” 1969
“Bague Pointedness,” 1970
“Couple Event for Those Who Wish to Deepen Their Relationship,” 1973
“My Mommy is Beautiful,” 1997
“Play It by Trust,” 1986-87
“Painting to Hammer a Nail In,” 1988
“Four Spoons,” 1988
Yoko Ono is a Japanese musician and visual artist, best known for her collaborative projects with husband John Lennon in the 1960s. She performs as the lead singer of the Plastic Ono Band along with her son, Sean Lennon, and is a prominent feminist and social activist.
Early Life
Yoko Ono was born into an affluent, aristocratic family in Tokyo in February of 1933, the eldest daughter of Isoko Ono, a representative of the Yokohama Specie Bank, and his wife Eisuke. Two weeks before her birth, her father was transferred to San Francisco, where she spent the first four years of her life, before returning to Tokyo in 1937. She displayed an inclination towards music and poetry at a young age, writing short plays and verses in adolescent years. In addition, she received training in classical piano and voice. In the early 1950s, she became the first woman accepted into the philosophy department at the Peers School, which was originally established to educate members of Japanese nobility, but left for New York the following year to enroll at Sarah Lawrence, majoring in creative writing and music. 
Artistic Beginnings
Though she quickly immersed herself in the avant-garde scene in downtown Manhattan, Ono struggled to connect with her environment and received a series of reviews critical of her work as a conceptual and performance artist. In 1956 she eloped with Ichiyanagi Toshi, a student of composition, against the wishes of her family, who disapproved of her interest in activities they deemed beneath her social and familial status. Over the next years, her work - though radical - became more creatively accessible to American audiences, especially in the changing cultural perceptions of the 1960s. Several of her pieces took inspiration from the music of John Cage and Zen philosophy and Ono eventually became closely associated with the Fluxus collective, through which she received her first solo exhibition in 1961. 
The following year, she traveled to Japan with her new husband, the jazz musician and filmmaker Anthony Cox, and only returned to New York in 1964. Upon her arrival, she mounted a performance piece titled “Cut Piece,” later recognized as a seminal piece of feminist artwork. She moved to London in 1966 and began collaborating with Cox on experimental cinema. It was during this time that she met The Beatles singer John Lennon at one of her exhibitions. Although they were both married to other people at the time, the pair fell in love and left their respective spouses within the next 18 months. They married in the spring of 1969, a year after releasing their first recording together, “Two Virgins.”
In the years preceding the end of the Vietnam War, Lennon and Ono used their celebrity status to promote peace by staging ‘bed-ins,’ inviting the media to visit them in their hotel room whilst they remained in bed. After The Beatles broke up in 1970, she was vilified by fans as its instigator and popularly derided for almost a decade. The couple retreated to a more private life after the birth of their son, though they continued to collaborate on various musical projects, including the Grammy-winning album “Double Fantasy,” until Lennon’s assassination in the winter of 1980. She presented the emotional landscape of her life after Lennon’s murder in “Season of Glass” the following year. 
In 1989 a retrospective of her work was organized at the Whitney Museum of American Art, followed by another at the Japan Society Gallery at the turn of the 20th century. She recently revived the Plastic Ono Band, recording “Between My Head and the Sky” in 2009. 
1933  -  Born in Tokyo
1960  -  Stages loft events with La Monte Young
1964  -  Performs “Cut Piece” at the Yamaichi Concert Hall
1966  -  Meets John Lennon
1973  -  Releases her first solo album “Approximately Infinite Universe”
1982  -  Wins a Grammy for her collaborative album with Lennon, “Double Fantasy”
1995  -  Returns to making music with her son, Sean
2001  -  Releases “Blue Print for Sunrise”
2005  -  Publishes “Memories of John Lennon”
Major Exhibitions
1971  -  Everson Museum, Syracuse
1989  -  Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
2008  -  Kunsthalle Bielefeld
2008  -  Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
2009  -  Venice Biennale
2012  -  Serpentine Galleries, London
2013  -  Schirn Kunsthale, Frankfurt
2013  -  Kunsthalle Krems
2013  -  Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest
Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem
Museum Villa Stuck, Munich
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis
“Grapefruit” by Yoko Ono and John Lennon
“YES Yoko Ono” by Alexandra Munroe
“Acorn” by Yoko Ono
“Reaching Out with No Hands: Reconsidering Yoko Ono” by Lisa Carver
“Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies” by Nell Beram and Carolyn Boriss-Krimsky

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