Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yoko Ono is a bad woman?

I honestly don't mind standing in the rain, or waiting in line. So although this was by far the most frustrating aspect for most visitors of the Yoko Ono Exhibition at the KE art center, it was not a problem for me. I'm not going censor myself (maybe a little), this exhibition was stupid, that ultimately was my problem. Now, after making such an absolute and judgmental comment I will to give it some justification.

Arriving at the KE art center the entire staging ground is packed with people. Everyone and their mother is here, including most of the NYU program. On the entrance of the main building is a large screen where a video on Yoko Ono's exhibition is playing. It plays once, twice, three times. Still no Yoko Onol, and no moving within the crowd. Some of the NYU start to become antsy. She shows up, and when she does the whole event is anti-climatic. You can't hear her voice, and the only thing I can barely pick up is I love Shanghai, and flash, flash flash, flash flash flash, which means I love you. I learned that from the video already, I chose not to flash her back in annoyance, and I think many of the students did the same. And then came the event we waited for, the doors opened, to only let a handful of people in. Then it rained, and we waited in the rain. As one by one people left, I stood waiting, honestly curious for what was inside. It was a full hour before I got in the building, and then 5 minutes and I was done with the exhibition. Here are my thoughts.

As so I can refrain from writing another purely negative review, I would like to focus on the positives of the show first. Production values were high, the KE art center was well refitted for the show, and all attendees were given small LED lights. I can confirm that my works a week later. The wooden coffins with plants on the outside were also a nice asthetic touch. And of course for what it's worth, Yoko Ono was there in person.

What was disappointing about the show was that it didn't seem like art. There were several posters plastered on a wall, a tree with wish tags hanging on them, and white room with minimal writing and lines on the walls. I can understand that sometimes art is different, that there may be some minimalistic ideal to it, but what Yoko Ono had to show here was not thought out, cheap, and uninspiring. I felt like drawing all over the walls just to put something there. Not to mention the theme, love. When tackling such an overplayed issue, I feel that it is important to carefully do it justice. Yoko Ono takes a legitimately interesting topic, and turns it on its ugly head. There is no semblance of thought in this exhibition. One flash, two flash, three flash is supposed to mean I love you. She takes this already absurd idea, and tries to turn it into the next phenomenon. I am not one to comply, and although I would like to spread "love" I would like to do it in a sincere and legitimate way. The self involved video segment, the ridiculous and unorderly appearance of Yoko Ono, the bare bones exhibition, and even the wait outside in the rain, all add to my disappointment to this show. Next time I will properly lower my expectations for a Yoko Ono show.

In all honestly, and reading what I have just written, this is one the most negative things I have wrote. I think it is because what she has done, does not to be symbolize legitimate art. She has taken an honest idea, and made it shallow beyond belief. I heard someone say in the crowd, why is this women making I love you so complicated? Instead of flashing some six times why not say three words, I love you? But all that aside, in this journey define art, and what art entails, this I can honestly say is not art.

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