The Berkeley Art Museum's exhibition of Yoko Ono's "instruction paintings" aims to provoke viewers' imaginations-just as the works inspired John Lennon.
Berkeley, CA, August 21, 2006 - The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is delighted to present the exhibition Grapefruit, a selection of "instruction paintings" from Yoko Ono's groundbreaking book with the same title, which inspired John Lennon to write his peace hymn "Imagine." The exhibition will be on view in the museum's Theater Gallery from October 18, 2006, through March 28, 2007.
Expressive and original, the instruction paintings from Grapefruit will be presented as wall texts that fill the gallery in the same way that paintings on canvas do. However, the conceptual nature of the art invites the viewer to take home the paintings in the form of a do-it-yourself idea.
Ono explains in Grapefruit: "My paintings, which are all instruction paintings (and meant for others to do), come after collage and assemblage (1915) and happening (1950) came into the art world. Considering the nature of my painting, any of the above three words or a new word can be used instead of the word painting. But I like the old word painting because it immediately connects with 'wall painting' painting, and it is nice and funny."
In the spirit of imagination, and as an homage to Lennon's song, the instruction paintings on view will include all of those in which the word imagine appears, including 1963's Cloud Piece ("Imagine the clouds dripping. Dig a hole in your garden to put them in"), which appears on Lennon's Imagine album sleeve.
The exhibition Grapefruit also includes watercolor paintings by Ono's fellow Fluxus artist Geoffrey Hendricks, and related ephemera from the museum's collection. In addition, a telephone will be installed in the gallery, and Ono herself will call at various times during the exhibition. When the phone rings, visitors are invited to answer and interact with the artist.
IMAGINE PEACE buttons - a gift from Ono - will be distributed free to viewers throughout the course of the show.
Born in Japan in 1933, Yoko Ono, a pioneer of Conceptual art, has lived her life combining her talents as artist and poet, musician, and tireless advocate for peace and love. Grapefruit was originally published in Japan in 1964 in an edition of 500 copies. It has since been reprinted in many languages and editions.
Ono first met her future husband, John Lennon, in 1966 at the Indica Gallery in London, and later that year, she presented him with a copy of Grapefruit. Years afterward, Lennon cited the powerful effect the book had on him, inspiring him to write his song "Imagine."
The exhibition coincides with a popular resurgence of interest in Lennon's legacy, which includes a new documentary film, to be released this fall, exploring his transformation from a musician into an anti-war activist during the years 1966–76.
Grapefruit is curated by Stephanie Cannizzo, Curatorial Associate at BAM/PFA. It is presented concurrently with two exhibitions examining American counterculture during the 1950s and 1960s: Semina Culture: Wallace Berman and His Circle and Allen Ruppersberg: The Singing Posters (both on view October 18 through December 10, 2006).
Related BAM/PFA Exhibitions
Semina Culture: Wallace Berman and His Circle
October 18 – December 10, 2006
Wallace Berman was an artist, poet, and, above all else, catalyst for a group of mid–twentieth-century artists, performers, and poets commonly referred to as Beat. His unbound magazine Semina, published between 1955 and 1964, serves as the organizing principle for this exhibition, which features works by contributors and friends-including Jay DeFeo, Bruce Conner, Michael McClure, Diane DiPrima, George Herms, Dennis Hopper, Russ Tamblyn, and many others - as well as portraits and ephemera documenting an extraordinary yet under-recognized moment in postwar American artistic and literary culture. Doug Harvey in LA Weekly called the show "beautiful if you have eyes to see, and deeply compelling if you're looking for a few good stories."
Allen Ruppersberg: The Singing Posters
October 18 – December 10, 2006
Conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg's career grew out of the radical environment of 1960s Los Angeles. For his playful installation at BAM, Ruppersberg plasters a gallery with hundreds of Day-Glo posters of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" - both as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the poem's publication and as a tongue-in-cheek attempt to make it accessible to future generations.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Packard Humanities Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, the Christensen Fund, the William H. Donner Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Gap Inc., other private foundations and corporations, and our individual donors and members. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.
Gap Inc. is proud to support First Impressions: Free First Thursdays at BAM/PFA. For more information about Free First Thursday gallery tours and screenings visit our website at bampfa.berkeley.edu.
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
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