Yoko Ono is not pretty, she is not easy, her paintings aren’t recognizable, her voice is not melodious, her films are without plot and her Happenings make no sense. One of her paintings you are told to sleep on. One of her paintings you are told to burn. One of her paintings isn’t a painting at all — it’s you going outside and looking at the sky. Most of her stuff is not even there. This is why I love her.
We need more impossible in our culture. Go out and capture moonlight on water in a bucket, she commands… It takes an enormous lack of ego to not put your imprint on everything you do, to not employ your learning and position. To stand back, to hold back, to keep your mouth shut. To yell with your silence, when you know you very well could make soothing and welcomed sounds at the drop of a hat. She could sing; she knows how. And being a Beatles wife could have been a magic charm — but she wasn’t interested. It takes willpower to overpower the will to power. To be accepted, to be thought nice, is traditionally woman’s power. That is something Ono doesn’t need.
I very much enjoyed Lisa Carver’s (yes, that Lisa Carver!) recent essay on Yoko Ono as a “difficult” artist. I admire the fact that Ono makes no attempts to be conventional, nice, or accepted by mainstream culture; she’s as weird as she ever was, and making no concessions as time goes on. Though I make no attempt to say that I understand her work, I appreciate impossibility just the same. Here’s to being a difficult woman.