Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Yoko Ono and the Vanitas Theme

Yoko Ono (1933 - ), Cut Piece, 1964, performed by Yoko Ono in New Works of Yoko Ono, 
Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, March 21, 1965. 
Photograph by Minoru Niizuma. © Minoru Niizuma. 
Courtesy Lenono Photo Archive, New York
Photo:  Museum of Modern Art Art Web site

Give Yoko Ono a chance.  Do not miss the exhibition Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).   This art enthusiast and reviewer considers Yoko Ono the most underrated of female artists around.  Profound and way ahead of her time, Ono's talents are abundant.  Moreover, she is fun.

The MoMA show covers Ono's films, texts, performances, music and more.  The exhibit begins with one of her first two films:  Match Piece (or No. 1).  Eyeblink, the other early film, appears in a nearby gallery.   

Frame from Yoko Ono's Match Piece (or No. 1), 1966,
16mm film (black and white, silent), high speed camera 2000 fr/sec., 5:05 min.
Publisher:  Fluxus Edition
The  Museum of Modern Art, New York.  The Gilbert
and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, 2008
Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971
May 17–September 7, 2015
The Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan, New York
Photo:  Hillary Ganton

In 1966 Ono was experimenting with a high speed camera which shot two thousand frames per second as opposed to the twenty-four frames per second of a standard camera.  She filmed the lighting of a match and an eye blink in slow motion which produced images that appear almost motionless.  

The quickly burning ignited match references the briefness of our existence and the impermanence of material things - the vanitas theme. This theme** would occupy Ono throughout her career.  See the exhibit.

 *To view the film Match Piece (or No. 1), go to Flux Film No. 14: “One” by Yoko Ono at Stendhal Gallery Online Archive.  

* *For more on the vanitas theme see ArtWithHillary June and July 2015.

Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971
May 17–September 7, 2015
The Museum of Modern Art
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