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Yoko Ono: One Woman Show

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ArtCommotion is proud to present an interactive event by Yoko Ono, created (in collaboration with ArtCommotion) specifically for the World Wide Web. The ArtCommotion sponsored event is the featured work in MOCA's launch of their Web site.

To provide a context for Ms. Ono's work, we asked art critic Peter Frank to place Yoko Ono in the art world, and describe the Fluxus movement, in which Yoko Ono played a major role. Click on a title below to read that piece.

|Yoko Ono As An Artist | The Fluxus Movement |

Yoko Ono As An Artist (top of page)

by Peter Frank

Well before she emerged into popular awareness as John Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono had established herself in vanguard art and music circles as one of the most daring, innovative and eccentric artist-performers of her time. As one of the founders of the Fluxus movement at the beginning of the 1960s, Ono helped identify and define the playful, subversive, visionary sensibility that has undergirded experimentation in all the arts ever since. Her poem-like verbal scores, her films, and her staged performances anticipated everything from minimalism to performance art, the furthest reaches of new cinema to the most extreme of Punk-New Wave music. Her performances made signal contributions to what Fluxus mastermind George Maciunas called "neo-Haiku theater" and artist-historian Ken Friedman labelled "Zen vaudeville".

In the '60s Ono took the common housefly as an alter ego. Clearly, the artist, mocked and maligned long before she began attracting the misguided ire of rock fans, regards the fly as an embodiment of her public persona--its apparent insignificance counterbalanced by its outsize ability to annoy. But even more important to Ono's associative thinking is the fly's constant, nervous "performing" and its elusively melodious buzz.

With her Fluxus colleagues Ono has elevated the insubstantial to monumental status, allowing us to contemplate the magic of the ordinary, as well as to comprehend the ordinariness of the seemingly profound. This inversion, along with the inventive puckishness of her game-like concepts and activities, make her work endlessly provocative--at once irksome and inviting, loopy and lovely, teasing and teaching us to appreciate the intimate and elusive phenomena that comprise life.

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The Fluxus Movement
(top of page)
by Peter Frank

The Fluxus movement emerged in New York around 1960, then it took root in Europe, and eventually in its way to Japan. The movement encompassed a new aesthetic that had already appeared on three continents. That aesthetic encompasses a reductive gesturality, part Dada, part Bauhaus and part Zen, and presumes that all media and all artistic disciplines are fair game for combination and fusion. Fluxus presaged avant-garde developments over the last 40 years.

Fluxus objects and performances are characterized by minimalist but often expansive gestures based in scientific, philosophical, sociological, or other extra-artistic ideas and leavened with burlesque.

Yoko Ono is the best-known individual associated with Fluxus, but many artists have associated themselves with Fluxus since its emergence. In the '60s, when the Fluxus movement was most active, artists all over the globe worked in concert with a spontaneously generated but carefully maintained Fluxus network. Since then, Fluxus has endured not so much as a movement but as a sensibility--a way of fusing certain radical social attitudes with ever--evolving aesthetic practices. Initially received as little more than an international network of pranksters, the admittedly playful artists of Fluxus were, and remain, a network of radical visionaries who have sought to change political and social, as well as aesthetic, perception.

see ClickPicks for Fluxus related links

| Yoko Ono As An Artist | The Fluxus Movement |

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