“Yoko had to be the title since . . . I wanted to make a more mature, confident, and daring artistic statement. The word ‘Yoko’ says it all: change, progress, and risk.”–Miles Kurosky in Rolling Stone, 2003
When Miles Kurosky of the San Francisco band Beulah buoyantly explains why his latest album bears this particular title, he also gives voice to the recently reawakened appreciation of Yoko Ono, the musician, filmmaker, poet, celebrity, icon, and artist. She is now rightfully recognized as a thoroughly singular presence in the artistic and cultural landscape of the past 45 years. In 2001, the traveling exhibition YES YOKO ONO and the artist herself were given a warm reception at the Walker. Several important works by Ono were recently added to the Walker’s permanent collection, including a generous gift from the artist that consists of more than 50 announcements, postcards, and posters documenting her historical performances. Given our strong ties, she was a natural choice to kick off the Billboard Project, located on Hennepin Avenue at 12th Street in downtown Minneapolis.
Ono’s personal and artistic outlook uniquely combines a Gandhian nonaggressive philosophy with her own brand of fugitive but penetrating poetry. At the height of the Vietnam War in 1969, Ono created War Is Over! in collaboration with John Lennon. This audaciously declarative message went up on billboards simultaneously in New York’s Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus. More than three decades later, war continues to rage on across the globe. To this seemingly endless human conundrum, Ono offers simple yet profound words of timeless hope: Imagine Peace.
The Billboard Project continues May 15-July 15 with a work by Twin Cities artist Frank Gaard.