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Oct. 25, 2003 (Sat) to Jan. 12, 2004 (Mon)

Collection of the artist
Photo by Oded Lobl
Courtesy Japan Society, New York
Yoko Ono's activities as an artist span a truly broad variety of genres: art, music, film, and performance. Her work over the past four decades has taken her around the world, in which process she has come to influence a great number of people, starting with John Lennon.

Back in November 1966, she exhibited her "Ceiling Painting" (or the "YES Painting") at the Indica Gallery of London. Viewers had to climb up a white ladder in the center of the room, from where a magnifying glass hanging from the ceiling allowed them to view the word "YES" written in tiny letters on a framed piece of paper affixed to the ceiling. In fact, the work brought Ono and John Lennon together for the first time - some say that she used the work to seduce the already-married Lennon. There is a famous episode in which Lennon, having climbed up the ladder and read what was written, said, "I would have been quite disappointed if it had said 'NO,' but was saved by the fact it said 'YES'," The two married in 1969.

The "YES" in the title of the exhibition symbolizes the way that Yoko Ono emphasizes the positive in her works and activities. The following quote illustrates that attitude: "'YES' was my work and John encountered it and he went up the stairs and he looked at this word that said 'Yes.' At the time I didn't really think it would be taken so personally. But I don't really connect it with John as much as I connect it with my view of life. My view of life is the fact that there were many incredible negative elements in my life, and in the world, and because of that I had to conjure up a positive attitude within me in balance to the most chaotic ... and I had to balance that by activating the 'Yes' element. 'Yes' is an expression that I always carried and that I'm carrying."

The "YES Yoko Ono" Exhibition was originally organized in 2000 by the Japan Society (New York), with Alexandra Munroe serving as curator, assisted by Jon Hendricks as consulting curator. The exhibition won raves after touring around America, and has since moved to destinations overseas. In 2001, it won first prize for best museum show originating in New York by the International Association of Art Critics, the highest accolade in the museum profession. Munroe will be visiting at ATM at the beginning of the exhibition on October 25 to give a press conference and an opening talk.

Surprisingly, the ATM exhibition is the first full-fledged Yoko Ono retrospective ever to be held in Japan. It will feature 130 of her works - some from as far back as the 1960s, continuing down to the present - including 60 objects, 50 photographs and documents, five films, and 15 installations. Many of her works become "complete" only with participation by viewers, and some of the pieces on exhibit at Mito this time encourage an active connection by those viewing them. One of those will be her installation of 100 coffins, suggesting life and death. The "YES Yoko Ono" exhibition, a true compendium of this artist's body of work, argues for the importance of coexistence, imagination, and communication, and contains many messages that need to be relayed to the contemporary world, replete with uncertainty as it is.

PLAY IT BY TRUST 1966/1991
Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito 2003
Photo by Keizo Kioku
Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito 2003
Photo by Keizo Kioku

AMAZE 1971/2003
Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito 2003
Photo by Keizo Kioku
Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito 2003
Photo by Keizo Kioku

EX-IT 1997/2003
Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito 2003
Photo by Keizo Kioku
WAR IS OVER! 1969/2003
Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito 2003
Photo by Keizo Kioku

Yoko Ono at the plaza, Art Tower Mito, Oct. 4, 2003

Special Essay

About the Granny Smith Apple Used in the Exhibition -- Eriko Osaka (Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito)

The "Granny Smith" variety of apple is literally named after a true-life "Grandmother Smith."
In Western countries, the name immediately brings to mind the image of the pleasantly tart green apples. In Japan, by way of contrast, green apples are rarely sold in supermarkets or grocery stores, but are instead treated as a rare, special variety of fruit grown mainly for candy-making.

Everyone recognizes that apples are appropriate as a subject of art: witness Cezanne's sketches of apples, or the sculptured representations of apples set upon pedestals. However, it is possible to treat real, raw apples as art? Moreover, this particular fruit has a deeper connotation, namely, that as a symbol of human temptation: the apple as the "forbidden fruit," the eating of which caused Adam and Eve to be expelled from the Garden of Eden. Also, the display of a real apple as an art object incorporates both the process of decay and the passage of time in its meaning.

Through the utilization of a real apple in her art, Yoko Ono poses us these fundamental questions: "What is art? What is it to be involved in art?" The green apple, while still fresh, appears very beautiful sitting on the acrylic stand. However, visitors to the Yes Yoko Ono Exhibition may see it only after it has withered and dried up. Please come and view this artwork knowing in advance that the apple may no longer be fresh.

What Makes the Granny Smith Special -- Mizuno Plantation, producer of the apple displayed in the Yes Yoko Ono Exhibition

The Granny Smith apple is not so well known among the Japanese people, but among Westerners it is a very popular variety used for both eating and cooking.

The first bite of a Granny Smith may seem quite sour, but there is no lingering sourness in the aftertaste. Instead, the sour taste disappears right away, leaving behind a refreshing sensation in one's mouth.

Some people like it, and some people don't. The Granny Smith is an apple for connoisseurs.

Profile of Yoko Ono

1933 Born in Tokyo
1953 Moves to New York to study composition and poetry at Sarah Lawrence University (Bronxville, NY)
1960 Meets George Maciunas and joins his avant-garde movement, Fluxus
1962 Solo exhibition of works at Sogetsu Art Center (Tokyo)
1964 Publishes "Grapefruit"
1966 Moves to London, where she meets John Lennon
1969 Marries Lennon, and forms the Plastic Ono Band
1969 Stages anti-war "Bed-in for Peace" event with Lennon
1971 Solo exhibition "This Is Not Here" at Everson Museum of Art(New York)
1980 "Double Fantasy" album produced together with Lennon (his last album)
1989 Solo exhibition at Whitney Museum of American Art(New York)
1990 Solo exhibition "Fumie" at Sogetsu Museum of Art (Tokyo)
1993 Exhibits work at the Venice Biennale
1997 Solo exhibition "Have You Seen the Horizon Lately" at Museum of Modern Art, Oxford
2000 Solo exhibition "Yes Yoko Ono" at Japan Society (New York)
2001 Exhibits work at the Yokohama Triennale

Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Amsterdam
Collection of the artist
Photo by Ruud Hoff
Yoko Ono and John Lennon
Billboard installed in Times Square, New York

Exhibition Details

Name: "Yes Yoko Ono"
Dates: Oct. 25, 2003 (Sat) to Jan. 12, 2004 (Mon)
Venue: Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito
Times: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.(no entrance after 5:30 p.m.)
Museum closed on Mondays (except for Nov. 3, 24 and Jan. 12, which are public holidays), as well as on Nov. 4 (Tue) and Nov. 25 (Tue), both of which follow public holidays. Also, the museum will be closed from Dec. 28 (Sun) to Jan. 3 (Sat) for the New Year's holiday season.

Sponsors: Mito Arts Foundation, Japan Society (New York), Asahi Shimbun
Support: NHK Mito Bureau
Co-sponsors: Asahi Breweries, Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.
Cooperation: Japan Air Lines (JAL), Mito Chamber of Commerce, SOUM Corporation
Fee: ¥800 (General), ¥600 (advance-purchase tickets, groups of 20 or more)
Free admission: Junior high school students and younger, senior citizens aged 65 or older, and disabled persons with proper certification
Yearly pass: ¥2,500 (Adult Pass for people 20 years and older), ¥1,000 (H.T.P.)
Purchase locations: ATM Ticket Counter (Adult Pass can only be bought here), JR East "Midori-no-Madoguchi" ticket centers, View Plaza
Exhibition directors: Eriko Osaka (Chief curator, ATM Contemporary Art Center), Kenji Kubota (curator, ATM Contemporary Art Center)

YES YOKO ONO is organized by Japan Society, New York. The exhibition is curated by Alexandra Munroe, with Jon Hendricks.

Press Conference
Time: Oct. 25, 2003 (Sat), 1:00 p.m.
Venue: Reception room next to Entrance Hall of Art Tower Mito
Featured participants: Alexandra Munroe (director, Japan Society Gallery), Eriko Osaka, Kenji Kubota

Related Talks
Talks can be attended with an admission ticket to the Yoko Ono exhibition.

Opening Talk
Dates: Oct. 25, 2003 (Sat), 2:00-3:00 p.m. (doors open at 1:30 p.m.)
Venue: Workshop, ATM Contemporary Art Gallery
Lecturer: Alexandra Munroe (Director, Japan Society Gallery)

Curator Talks
ATM's curators in charge of the exhibition will give gallery talks on separate dates. Please inquire at the gallery entrance if you wish to attend. Meet at the gallery entrance before the talks begin. Each talk lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Nov. 1, 2003 (Sat) 2:30-3:15 p.m.
Eriko Osaka (artistic director, ATM Contemporary Art Center)

Dec. 6, 2003 (Sat) 1:00-1:45 p.m.
Kenji Kubota (curator, ATM Contemporary Art Center)

Concurrent Events

Lecture Series Oct.-Dec. 2003
Preliminary Planning for Cafe in Mito 2004: "Towards a Rediscovery of Mito"
Four lecturers from the fields of architecture, design, art and urban planning will introduce their ideas on how to create demand by restoring vacant buildings and shops through the creation of new value.

Oct. 9, 2003 (Thu) "Making Something without Destroying" Jun Aoki, architect
Oct. 30, 2003 (Thu) "The State of Urban Renewal Overseas" Sachiko Harada, independent curator and writer
Nov. 20, 2003 (Thu) "Discovering the Latent Potential of the City" Teruo Kurosaki, president, Idee Corp.
Dec. 11, 2003 (Thu) "Reusing Decrepit Buildings, and Methods of Reuse" Fumio Kajiwara, senior executive, Urban Design System Co.
Venue: Art Tower Mito Conference Room
Times: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)
Capacity 100 (no application necessary, first-come, first-served)
Admission Free

Weekend Gallery Talks
On weekends, enhance your appreciation of the exhibition through a guided tour by an ATM docent, called a "CAC Gallery Talker." Descriptions will be given in Japanese. If you wish to attend, assemble at the gallery entrance before the times indicated. Each talks lasts approximately 40 minutes.

Dates: Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 8, 2003 (Sat) to Jan. 12, 2004 (Mon)
Times: 2:30-3:10 p.m.
Note: Unforeseen circumstances may force the cancellation of the Weekend Gallery Talks on certain days.

Gallery Talk with Babysitting Service
Date: Nov. 30, 2003 (Sun)
Capacity: 15 children only (accepted in order of reservation)
Babysitting fee: ¥500
Application deadline: Nov. 15, 2003 (Sat)
Contact: Contact Moriyama or Higuchi at ATM Contemporary Art Center, (029)227-8120


CRITERIUM 57 Nakai Megumi
Dates: Oct. 25, 2003 (Sat) to Jan. 12, 2004 (Mon, national holiday)
Venue: Room 9, Art Tower Mito Contemporary Art Gallery
Admission: Included in entrance fee for "YES YOKO ONO" exhibition
Planned by: Mizuki Takahashi (curator, ATM Contemporary Art Center)

"Criterium" is the Latin for criterion, a standard or benchmark against which things are measured. The series aims to introduce the new works of mainly young artists.

ATM Contemporary Art Gallery's
Pass for Adults
© Hiroko Ichihara
A pass has been designed for adults aged 20 and older, letting the holder make an unlimited number of visits to the Contemporary Art Gallery's exhibitions for one year from the date of purchase.
The price is ¥2,500 The artwork on the pass has been designed by Hiroko Ichihara, an artist who incorporates words in her works. The logo on the pass reads: "Contemporary art -- as easy as pie." The pass is on sale at the ticket counter in Art Tower Mito.

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Translated by Paul T. Narum
(official names of exhibitions and artworks are furnished by the artists andplanners themselves)

Copyright ©2003 MITO ARTS FOUNDATION. All Rights Reserved. Created by TK.
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