Saturday, October 3, 2015

Yoko Ono: One Woman Show at MoMA

          Visiting “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971” at MoMA is like having a casual conversation with the artist. Yoko Ono's paintings, sculptures, installations, and films convey the playful aspects of everyday life. From embracing beauty in the natural decaying process in Apple (1966) or the simple self reflection in Box of Smile (1972) to inviting viewer to make physical contact with A Painting to Be Stepped On (1961) or becoming part of Bag Piece (1964), the artist celebrates the notion of play.

          The label for the all White Chess Set (1966) is inscribed with humorous words, “chess set for playing as long as you can remember where all your pieces are.” Although the work seems ordinary at first, with a second glance the viewer realizes both sets of the chessmen are white, matching the game board table and chairs. The artist's minimal adjustment on the traditional chess transform the game into a new kind of play. Instead of playing against each other, the players work together to continue moving their own white chessmen across the board. Like the playfulness of White Chess Set, the exhibition fills the museum space with the lively spirit with Yoko Ono whispering “play with me.”


  1. A lot of Yoko Ono's works are brilliant and sometimes playful. The smartness makes me always wish these pieces could be done in even better execution, but it maybe just me being too picky. I share the same feeling of the White Chess piece with Kerchun. This piece is one of the few Yoko’s piece that I have nothing to complain about. It is nicely done. This chess table is inviting in an effective way. However, I have a big problem of the way it has been present as part of Yoko’s exhibition at MoMA. There was almost no clue for the visitors to know that this piece was alone in the garden, while all other Yoko’s works were in the exhibition room on the top floor.

  2. Great to see that you have incorporated several different works of Yoko Ono from the exhibition. It was a very large scale of a show, so this allows me to remember the space and review the whole overview of the exhibition. Despite the argument that has been brought up in class that this exhibition was too clustered with nonuniform topics, your emphasis on the playfulness theme of Yoko Ono brings a pleasant perspective of her works. I also wish that the other interactive art works were discussed, such as the long lines to go up to the staircase and the audience’s reluctancy to participate for the Bag Piece.