Yoko Ono is re-running her 1966 non-art art show in London. The exhibition, which was originally held at the Indica Gallery in London, features many of Ono’s personal belongings and documents from her life.
Some musicians will go to any length to get recognition. The 2010 crowd-pleaser “The Artist is Present,” performed by Magdalena Abramovic at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is still fresh in the memory bank, as if deposited yesterday. She sat gazing at anybody willing to sit opposite her and gaze back for eight hours a day for three months. A total of 1,000 people were said to be eager to attend the exhibition.
Yoko Ono’s Mending Piece at the Whitechapel Gallery in London is the latest artist to gain attention with what can reasonably be described as a non-art art exhibition. Ono’s “display,” like Abramovic’s, encourages people to interact.
This equates to instructing them to mend shattered ceramic pieces in her instance. Tape, twine, scissors, and glue are all included in the kit. The artists often provide instructions to the participants, such as, “Mend carefully. Consider repairing the planet and yourself at the same time.” The restored dinnerware then takes center stage. It’s a do-it-yourself art exhibition for museum visitors. Or, in the case of Abramovic, “The Artist is Not Present.”
Repitition of the performance
Ono’s exhibition isn’t as avant-garde as it may seem. She performed the same thing at the Indica Gallery in London, a well-known center for countercultural art, 55 years ago. Except that “Mending Piece” isn’t really subversive. Dishwasher repair is a traditional Japanese art form. Breakage of a plate, cup, or bowl is part of its history, according to the Whitechapel Gallery show notes, and should be highlighted rather than made to seem fresh.
The show’s declared goal is for visitors to extend the repair concept to other damaged objects, such as a heart, mind, or nation, while they work on the exhibit. The only thing missing from “Mending Piece” is a soundtrack with John Lennon crooning “Imagine all the humanity living in peace…”
It would be particularly appropriate to perform the song during the performance.
According to UDiscovermusic, a fantastic website for music news, the 50th anniversary of Lennon’s famous song is being commemorated by having the words projected onto famous structures across the globe. The House of Parliament, the Berlin Wall, and a digital billboard in Times Square are among the locations. Given the song’s popularity, it’s possible that Ono decided not to perform it during her performance.
Is it considered art?
What are our thoughts on her performance? I’m not a fan of interactive art exhibitions (more on that later), but unlike Abramovic, Ono has something to say.
The exhibition was organized by Cameron Foote of the Whitechapel Gallery. And, apart from laying out the ceramic pieces and adjusting equipment, I’m not sure what else there was to curate. It’s all right. My main worry is that interactive art exhibitions deprive individuals of the opportunity to engage with art. When you’re on your alone, with no one telling you what to believe, as Ono tells her audience, “Think about repairing the world…”
Broken crockery does not get me far when it comes to repairing the planet. However, seeing something like Bill Charmatz’s ink painting “Duel,” which depicts two villains shooting each other in the head, is a quick kick in the groin.
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