Yoko Ono Oh

July 29, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

I have been looking into some of Yoko Ono’s work of late–part of my thinking through a possible complement to my on-going Beuys project….

At any rate, I found those clips of her infamous “cut piece” as well as a few stories about its recent reenactment…You can go here to see the entire CBS  article in its original context.


    • Sean Lennon, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, cuts away a piece of his artist mother Yoko Ono's dress as she repeats her 1960s performance _Cut Piece,_ in Paris Monday.Sean Lennon, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, cuts away a piece of his artist mother Yoko Ono’s dress as she repeats her 1960s performance “Cut Piece,” in Paris Monday. (AP)
    • Yoko OnoYoko Ono (AP)


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(CBS/AP)

; Yoko Ono performed her legendary 1960s “Cut Piece” Monday, inviting the audience to cut off her clothing with scissors in the name of world peace.

The 70-year-old avant-garde icon sat in a chair on stage alone at Paris’ intimate Ranelagh theater and asked that each member of the audience silently cut off a piece of her clothing and send it to a loved one.

One by one, the 200 audience members filed onstage and snipped away pieces of Ono’s outfit — a long black silk skirt with matching long-sleeved top. Among them was Ono’s 27-year-old son, Sean Lennon.

At the end of the one-hour event, the Japanese-born artist was left seated in her black undergarments until an aide came onstage with a robe.

“I was just here to say imagine world peace, and to say I love you,” Ono told Associated Press Television News in an exclusive interview after the show. “Let’s create a peaceful world. I’m hoping these things will help.”

The appearance repeats Ono’s 1964 performance in Japan, which captivated the media and art critics at the time for its boldness. She also performed “Cut Piece” at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1965.

It was well before she and the late Beatles’ star John Lennon became a couple — they met in 1966 and married in 1969.

“Following the political changes through the year after 9/11, I felt terribly vulnerable — like the most delicate wind could bring me tears,” Ono wrote in a presentation for the show. “Cut Piece is my hope for world peace.”

By allowing strangers to approach her with scissors, Ono said she hoped to show that this is “a time where we need to trust each other.”

I also found this article.

“CROWD CUTS YOKO ONO’S CLOTHING OFF!” and “YOKO ONO DOES STRIPTEASE FOR PEACE!” and “FRENCH FIGHT SHY OF YOKO’S STRIP!” sensationalized the headlines. None of the media even hinted at the deeper meaning of Yoko Ono—in the name of world peace (and perhaps a new love of life)—having allowed the crowd to cut off her widow’s weeds. Even more symbolic was the fact that Yoko Ono performed this finalé of her legendary Cut Piece in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. Instead of a dress being paraded for potential buyers, a dress was being cut to shreds! This struck me as more than a demonstration for peace, world peace, but a statement against capitalism; a cry for the return to nature that would save our planet, our species. What impresses me most, however, is the courage Yoko displayed—considering the murder of John Lennon with her literally at his side, and the innumerable death threats she’s received ever since—in daring to repeat a performance that would not only expose her throat to a potential assassin but put into the assassin’s hand a deadly weapon: a pair of well-sharpened scissors.

The jagged steel of those scissors she carried glistened against the blackness of her long, layered, silk-chiffon skirt and tight, black, long-sleeved top when she gingerly stepped, as if walking on thin ice, onto the stage of Paris’ intimate Théâtre du Ranelagh. Applause temporarily relieved the foreboding I felt during that Monday evening of September 15, 2003. Here was Yoko Ono: A slender, cool, 70-year-young avant-garde icon; one of the art world’s leaders of conceptual and performance art; in the flesh. My angst over a possible, bloody murder metamorphosed into fascination.


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