By Sarah Yáñez-Richards |
New York (EFE).- The Japanese artist Yoko Ono turns 90. In her long career she has become synonymous with avant-garde art and pacifism, and the widow of John Lennon, whom she served as the inspiration for the creation of “Imagine”, considered the best song by the solo artist and one of the best songs in the world. twentieth century.
Ono continues to live in the Dakota Building in New York, across the street from where Lennon was assassinated on December 8, 1980.
The artist, who is only 1.58 meters tall, was born in Tokyo in 1933 into a family of pianists and bankers, and went to the best schools, but only lasted a couple of semesters at Gakushuin University, but there she felt “like a domesticated animal that receives information”, according to an excerpt collected by The New Yorker.
After leaving university in 1953, she went to live with her parents in New York, where she became a student at Sarah Lawrence College for Women.
Fully in the avant-garde
Three years later, she married pianist Toshi Ichiyanagi and moved to Manhattan, where the couple began a life of experimental art and music.
In the 1960s Ono belonged to the avant-garde group Flexus. In the fall of 1961 he gave his first concert at Carnegie Recital Hall and published the book “Grapefruit” in 1964.
In 1962, she divorced Toshi and, after a long process, married Anthony Cox, a film producer and art promoter, in 1963. Together they had a daughter that same year whom they named Kyoko Chan Cox.
In 1965, Ono premiered one of her most popular works “Cut Piece” in New York, a performance in which the artist dressed in her best clothes and let the public cut her outfit (even her underwear) while she remained almost immobile without saying anything.
1966 was the year in which she broke up with her second husband – whom she officially divorced in 1969 – and met who would become her third husband, John Lennon.
Yoko and Lennon, an inseparable couple
Their first meeting was when the Beatle attended his “Yoko at Indica” exhibition in London. At the time Lennon was married to Cynthia Powell (from whom he divorced in 1968).
As revealed in 1971 Lennon in an interview with Rolling Stone, in May 1968 the musician invited Ono to his house when Powell was not there.
“(Ono) came home and didn’t know what to do, so we went up to my studio and I played him all the tapes I’d made, all this crazy stuff and some electronic music. She was very impressed and then she said, ‘Well, let’s make a (tape) ourselves,’ so we did (the experimental album) ‘Two Virgins’. It was midnight when we started “Two Virgins”, we finished at dawn and then we made love at dawn. It was very beautiful,” Lennon said then.
Ono and Lennon became inseparable, as can be seen in the documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” (2021), which explores through hours of recordings how the British band created their last album, “Let It Be” in 1970, and where they met. see how Ono always appeared a few meters from Lennon.
A turbulent relationship with the band
When the four long-haired separated, both fans of The Beatles and the press pointed to Ono as “the culprit”, an image that has accompanied her throughout her life, despite the fact that Lennon denied it.
“She didn’t split The Beatles, how can a woman split The Beatles? The Beatles were drifting apart on their own,” Lennon said on a 1971 television show that he and Ono had attended.
He complained in that same interview that Ono has never been “thanked” for “all the good music” that the band members later made solo. Perhaps he was thinking of “Imagine” (1971), Lennon’s greatest solo hit.
In a BBC interview with the couple in 1980, Lennon acknowledged that Ono was a co-writer on the song but did not credit her for machismo: “It should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it, the lyrics and the concept, came from from Yoko. But then I was a little more egotistical, a little more macho, and I omitted to mention her contribution. But it came straight out of ‘Grapefruit,’ her book,” he said.
Peace and love
Activism has been another important pillar in Ono’s life, both with Lennon and after her husband’s death.
As a couple, their best-known protest was “Bed-ins for Peace” (1969), where they stayed for days in bed in two luxurious hotels in Amsterdam and Montreal in their pajamas to protest the Vietnam War.
Alone, one of his most popular works is “IMAGINE PEACE”, which in its latest version of 2022, consisted of covering with this message of peace various iconic places in London, Berlin, Milan, Melbourne, New York, California, Seoul and Tokyo, among others.
Although Ono is no longer seen much in public, she is active on social networks, especially on Twitter, where she has 4.5 million followers.
The last time she was seen at a public event was in 2017 when she received the Centennial Song Award from the National Association of Music Publishers accompanied by her son, Sean Lennon, who was in charge of pushing her in a wheelchair.
And yet, at the end of January, Ono tweeted that to get out of his depression (a disease he has suffered at other times in his life) he walks “80 blocks or blocks” every day.