Friday, September 4, 2015

Also at MOMA: the great Jacob Lawrence

Another don't-miss at the Museum of Modern Art, running through Monday, September 7:  One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series and Other Works.  This is a rare opportunity see the Lawrence's entire series of 60 paintings portraying the Great Migration of blacks from the rural South to the cities of the North, half of which are now owned by MOMA and half by the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

In 1941, when Lawrence completed the series, he was all of 23--with much great work yet ahead of him.

Yoko at MOMA - last chance!

Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971, at the Museum of Modern Art is the sort of show I tend to miss--running a long time, not a labor of love first on my list, feels like a cultural duty.

Fortunately, an afternoon visit from my niece JoJo earlier this month got me there.   The show was a revelation--one of the highlights of my summer--and I've been thinking about it ever since: 

The riveting film made from Ono's performance Cut Piece.  Was the thing that happens at the end of the film really spontaneous--or staged?  Either way, the piece is brilliant, and if the bit at the end was staged, Ono is a brilliant actress as well. 

Her White Chess Set:  leaders all over the world should be playing with it.

Her book Grapefruit--a compendium of drawings and instructions for every day of the year.  Copies of its pages are posted on the walls of one of the rooms in the exhibit  Walking slowly, reading them, JoJo and I wanted to be able to bring them home, and were happy to find that we could buy the book in the gift shop. 

It's a great source of inspiration--for making art, for writing, and for living.

Yoko Ono was a woman ahead of her time--a woman of genius, which, luckily for both of them, John Lennon realized.  

MOMA, however, was behind the times and slow to appreciate Ono.  Hence, her self-created debut at the museum, which she called Museum of Modern [F]art, in 1971, and which seems to have consisted mainly of the claim that she had released flies on the museum grounds. .  Belatedly, MOMA is now acknowledging the innovative and influential body of work that led up Ono's 1971 appearance there--let's hope that her next show at the museum doesn't take nearly as long. 

The show is closing next Monday, September 7.  If you haven't been yet, go.   If it travels to your town, get yourself there.  If I'm there, I'll go again. 

In the meantime, get yourself a copy of Grapefruit.