GROWING FREEDOM: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko presented by Vancouver Art Gallery from October 9, 2021, to May 2, 2022, celebrates the work of the renowned conceptual and performance artist.
GROWING FREEDOM underscores the cornerstones of action, participation, and imagination in the work of Yoko Ono and examines the collaborative works she undertook with her late husband John Lennon.
The exhibition is organized into two parts, the first focuses on Ono’s instruction works, which break down barriers between artistic disciplines and emphasize her radical approach to art-making. By inviting the viewer to participate in the artistic process, she not only creates works that continue to grow and change but also thwarts the conventions of the art market. Exhibited works include pieces that invite the visitor to complete the work, through actions such as mending broken ceramics (MEND PIECE, 1966/2021), hammering nails into a canvas (PAINTING TO HAMMER A NAIL,1966/2021) and writing about their mothers on a sticky note and attaching it to the gallery wall (MY MOMMY IS BEAUTIFUL, 2004/2021). Other works solicit participation from outside the institution including WATER EVENT (1971/2021), which will feature the participation of local Indigenous artists, and ARISING (2013/2021), which is comprised of testaments of harm from individuals who self-identify as women.
The second part of the exhibition presents an arc of collaborative projects for peace undertaken by Ono and Lennon. Among these are the WAR IS OVER! (If you want it) peace campaign (1969) and the BED-IN FOR PEACE (1969). Through an approach that spotlights storytelling and privileges listening, this section of GROWING FREEDOM also features the stories of various people who participated in Ono and Lennon’s art projects, told in their own voices and words.
“The work of Yoko Ono is important to the history of 20th and 21st-century art in many ways,” states Anthony Kiendl, CEO and Director of Vancouver Art Gallery, “This exhibition allows visitors a first-hand experience of these renowned works, including Ono’s collaborations with John Lennon. In these works, we witness a blueprint for subsequent crossovers between contemporary art and popular culture that has come to epitomize our times. This work is truly innovative, and we are immensely pleased to share it with our communities.”
GROWING FREEDOM: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko is organized by the Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montréal, and curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran and Cheryl Sim. The exhibition runs October 9, 2021 to May 2, 2022 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Capacity is limited, timed-entry tickets may be booked online at vanartgallery.bc.ca
Visitors are encouraged to bring headphones to access audio content throughout the exhibition. A limited quantity of disposable headphones will be available at the admissions desk.