Eisuke came from a long line of samurai warrior-scholars. Ono was enrolled in piano lessons from the age of 4. Ono was enrolled in Keimei Gakuen, an exclusive Christian primary school run by the Mitsui family. She remained in Tokyo throughout World War II and the great fire-bombing of March 9, , during which she was sheltered with other family members in a special bunker in Tokyo's Azabu district, far from the heavy bombing.
Ono later went to the Karuizawa mountain resort with members of her family. Ono said it was during this period in her life that she developed her "aggressive" attitude and understanding of "outsider" status. Other stories tell of her mother bringing a large number of goods with them to the countryside, where they were bartered for food.
However, unbeknownst to them, he remained in the city. He was in a concentration camp. The school, located near the Tokyo Imperial Palace , had not been damaged by the war, and Ono found herself a classmate of Prince Akihito , the future emperor of Japan.
However, she left the school after two semesters. When Ono later rejoined her family, she enrolled at nearby Sarah Lawrence College. Ono's parents approved of her college choice but she said that they disapproved of her lifestyle and chastised her for befriending people that they felt were beneath her.
In spite of her parents' disapproval, Ono loved meeting artists, poets , and others who represented the bohemian lifestyle to which she aspired. She visited galleries and art happenings in the city; this whetted her desire to publicly display her own artistic endeavors. American avant-garde artist, composer , and musician La Monte Young was her first important contact in the New York art world; he helped Ono start her career by using her Chambers Street loft in Tribeca as a performance space.
After Ono set a painting on fire at one performance, her mentor John Cage advised her to treat the paper with flame retardant. Ono returned home to live with her parents and was suffering from clinical depression when she was briefly placed into a Japanese mental institution. After finalizing that divorce, Cox and Ono married again on June 6, She gave birth to their daughter Kyoko Chan Cox two months later on August 8, Soon, the couple returned to New York with Kyoko.
In the early years of the marriage, Ono left most of Kyoko's parenting to Cox while she pursued her art full-time, with Cox also managing her publicity.
Ono and Cox divorced on February 2, , and she married John Lennon later that same year. In the midst of a custody battle , Cox disappeared with their eight-year-old daughter. He won custody after successfully claiming that Ono was an unfit mother due to her drug use. She finally saw Kyoko again many years later in According to the first account, on November 9, Lennon went to the Indica Gallery in London, where Ono was preparing her conceptual art exhibit, and they were introduced by gallery owner John Dunbar.
When he climbed the ladder, Lennon felt a little foolish, but he looked through the spyglass and saw the word "YES" which he said meant he didn't walk out, as it was positive, whereas most concept art he encountered was "anti" everything.
Viewers hammered a nail into a wooden board, creating the art piece. Although the exhibition had not yet opened, Lennon wanted to hammer a nail into the clean board, but Ono stopped him. Dunbar asked her, "Don't you know who this is? He might buy it. In , Ono was in London and compiling original musical scores for a book entitled Notations ; John Cage was working on the book.
McCartney declined to give her any of his own manuscripts but suggested that Lennon might oblige. Lennon did, giving Ono the original handwritten lyrics to " The Word. It was a really strange situation. They spent the night recording what would become the Two Virgins album,  after which, he said, they "made love at dawn".
A few weeks after Lennon's divorce from Cynthia was granted, Ono became pregnant, but she suffered the miscarriage of a male child on November 21, Two Virgins During the last two years that the Beatles performed, Lennon and Ono created and attended their own public protests against the Vietnam War. On March 20, , they were married at the registry office in Gibraltar and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam , campaigning with a week-long Bed-In for Peace.
They planned another Bed-In in the US, but were denied entry to the country. Although he used the name John Ono Lennon thereafter, official documents referred to him as John Winston Ono Lennon, since he was not permitted to revoke a name given at birth. The same year, the couple contributed an experimental piece to The White Album called " Revolution 9 ".
This first incarnation of the group also consisted of guitarist Eric Clapton , bass player Klaus Voormann , and drummer Alan White. The first half of their performance consisted of rock standards. During the second half, Ono took to the microphone and performed an avant-garde set along with the band, finishing with music that consisted mainly of feedback , while she screamed and sang. The two albums also had companion covers: Ono's featured a photo of her leaning on Lennon, and Lennon's a photo of him leaning on Ono.
Her album included raw, harsh vocals, which bore a similarity with sounds in nature especially those made by animals and free jazz techniques used by wind and brass players. Performers included Ornette Coleman , other renowned free jazz performers, and Ringo Starr. Some songs on the album consisted of wordless vocalizations, in a style that would influence Meredith Monk  and other musical artists who have used screams and vocal noise in lieu of words.
The album reached No. In it, she explored slightly more conventional psychedelic rock with tracks including "Midsummer New York" and "Mind Train", in addition to a number of Fluxus experiments. She also received minor airplay with the ballad " Mrs. Accusations flew between the two, as well as the matter of custody. Cox eventually moved away with Kyoko; Ono would not see her daughter until Sargent writes of interviewing Yoko while she was visiting Portland, Maine in She spoke of driving along the coast with Lennon and dreamed of buying a house in Maine.
We were looking for a house on the water… We did examine the place! We went quite a ways up, actually, because it was so beautiful. The next month, Lennon agreed to meet with Ono, who claimed to have found a cure for smoking.
After the meeting, he failed to return home or call Pang. When Pang telephoned the next day, Ono told her Lennon was unavailable, because he was exhausted after a hypnotherapy session. Two days later, Lennon reappeared at a joint dental appointment with Pang; he was stupefied and confused to such an extent that Pang believed he had been brainwashed. He told her his separation from Ono was now over, though Ono would allow him to continue seeing her as his mistress.
John did not help relations with his first son when he described Julian in as being part of the "ninety percent of the people on this planet [who resulted from an unplanned pregnancy]" and that "Sean is a planned child, and therein lies the difference. He's still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn't have pills in those days. Sean has followed in his parents' footsteps with a career in music; he performs solo work, works with Ono and formed a band, the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.
Death of John Lennon Following Sean's birth in , Lennon took a hiatus from the music industry and became a househusband to care for his infant son. He resumed his songwriting career shortly before his December murder , which Ono witnessed at close range.
She stated the couple was thinking about going out to dinner after spending several hours in a recording studio, but decided to return to their apartment instead, because Lennon wanted to see Sean before he was put to bed.
Ono funded the construction and maintenance of the Strawberry Fields memorial in Manhattan's Central Park , directly across from the Dakota Apartments , which was the scene of the murder and remains Ono's residence to this day. It was officially dedicated on October 9, , which would have been his 45th birthday.
In , Ono collaborated with music consultant Jeff Pollack to honor what would have been Lennon's 50th birthday with a worldwide broadcast of Imagine. Over 1, stations in over 50 countries participated in the simultaneous broadcast. Ono felt the timing was perfect, considering the escalating conflicts in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Germany. In March , she was present with Cherie Blair at the unveiling of a seven-foot statue of Lennon, to mark the renaming of Liverpool airport to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Each year, between October 9 and December 8, it projects a vertical beam of light high into the sky. In , Ono created an exhibit called "John Lennon: The exhibit used music, photographs, and personal items to depict Lennon's life in New York, and a portion of the cost of each ticket was donated to Spirit Foundation, a charitable foundation set up by Lennon and Ono. She is the widow of the victim, and her opinion has a strong influence on the parole board's decision to keep Chapman behind bars.
Fluxus[ edit ] Ono is often associated with the Fluxus group, which was founded by George Maciunas , who was her friend during the s. Maciunas admired and enthusiastically promoted her work and gave Ono her U. He formally invited her to join the Fluxus group, but she declined because she wanted to remain independent.
She eventually found an inexpensive loft in downtown Manhattan at Chambers Street and used the apartment as a studio and living space.
Ono supported herself through secretarial work and lessons in the traditional Japanese arts at the Japan Society , and she allowed composer La Monte Young to organize concerts in the loft.
With that work, Ono suggested that a work of art no longer needed to be mounted on a wall and inaccessible. Cut Piece, [ edit ] Ono was a pioneer of conceptual art and performance art. The piece consisted of Ono, dressed in her best suit, kneeling on a stage with a pair of scissors in front of her.
She invited and then instructed audience members to join her on stage and cut pieces of her clothing off. Confronting issues of gender, class and cultural identity, Ono sat silently until the piece concluded at her discretion. It demonstrates the reciprocity between artists, objects, and viewers and the responsibility beholders have to the reception and preservation of art.
Grapefruit book Ono's small book titled Grapefruit is another seminal piece of conceptual art. First published in , the book reads as a set of instructions through which the work of art is completed-either literally or in the imagination of the viewer participant. One example is "Hide and Seek Piece: Hide until everybody goes home. Hide until everybody forgets about you. Hide until everybody dies. David Bourdon , art critic for The Village Voice and Vogue , called Grapefruit "one of the monuments of conceptual art of the early 's.