A month or so ago, I saw Yoko Ono’s show at MoMA (which runs until September 7, 2015). When I found out that this was her first solo show for them, the immediate question, “What took them so long?” popped into mind. But since answering that would involve knowing and caring something about contemporary art world politics, I decided to let it go and enjoy the art, which I did—immensely.
Yoko’s work is playful and she expects us, as audience or viewers, to play along. We complete the work. We are active, not passive. We have to climb the ladder or staircase, hammer in the nail, pick up a chess piece, act out or visualize an instruction typed on a piece of paper. We are actively invited and encouraged to smile.
Her work is also profoundly spiritual, inspired. I am thinking in particular of the work she created with John Lennon, War is Over (If You Want It). Again, she’s asking us to be active participants in the creation of this work, the creation of peace. We can only have an end to war, we can only have peace, if we want it—if we have peaceful thoughts and take peaceful actions. Just as the teacher appears when the student is ready, or healing occurs when one is truly open to it, so we can stop having war. We have to want it, and be willing to make the necessary changes to bring it about. Spiritual teachers from all traditions have said this since time immemorial. The CHOOSING of peace is the first step toward being able to enact that choice in our lives.
That’s why I still like Yoko.