Yoko Ono is an artist and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking and for her marriage to John Lennon (1969–1980). Ono brought feminism to the forefront in her music (which prefigured New Wave music). She is also known for her philanthropic contributions to arts, peace and AIDS outreach programs. Lennon called her “the most famous unknown artist in the world.”
Yoko Ono was an explorer of conceptual art and performance art. An example of her performance art is “Cut Piece”, first performed in 1964 at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo. Cut Piece had one destructive verb as its instruction: “Cut.” Ono executed the performance in Tokyo by walking on stage and casually kneeling on the floor in a draped garment. Audience members were requested to come on stage and begin cutting until she was naked. Ono performed this piece again in London and other venues, garnering drastically different attention depending on the audience. In Japan, the audience was typically shy and cautious, while London participators were a bit more zealous.
Yoko Ono was also an experimental filmmaker who made sixteen films between 1964 and 1972, and gained particular renown for a 1966 Fluxus film called simply No. 4, but often referred to as “Bottoms.” The film consists of a series of close-ups of human buttocks as the subject walks on a treadmill. The screen is divided into four almost equal sections by the elements of the gluteal cleft and the horizontal gluteal crease. The soundtrack consists of interviews with those who are being filmed as well as those considering joining the project. In 1996, the watch manufacturing company Swatch produced a limited edition watch that commemorates this film. (Ono also acted in an obscure exploitation film in 1965, Satan’s Bed.)
How Yoko Ono Made Her Money – Artist
Estimated Net Worth: $500 Million
Birthday: February 18, 1933
[image via Marcela Cataldi Cipolla]