Early Life and Education
Yoko Ono was born February 18, 1933, in Tokyo, Japan to a wealthy Japanese family. As a child, she wrote poetry, plays, and received classical training in both voice and piano. In 1952, she became the first woman admitted to Gakushūin University’s philosophy program.
Ono’s father was a banker, and his job took their family back and forth between Japan, San Francisco, and New York. This exposed her to different cultures and religions as a child and young adult.
In 1953 she joined her family in the New York City area where her father had been transferred. She studied music and writing at Sarah Lawrence College but never graduated. She dropped out of university in 1955 and moved to New York City and became involved in the art community of the city.
Contributions to the Art World
In the 1960s, Ono’s involvement in the art world increased. She was part of an art group, Fluxus, inspired by Neo-Dadaism and the avant-garde.
1964 brought two of Ono’s most famous works of art. Cut Piece was an interactive art experience in which she encouraged her audience to use scissors to cut off parts of the dress she wore until she was left naked on stage.
Grapefruit was a conceptual artist’s book that contained short works, poetry, drawings, and instructions.
Meeting John Lennon
In 1966, Ono moved to London and met John Lennon, a member of the Beatles, at one of her art exhibitions. Drawn together by their passion for their art and their radical political views, they began working together on musical projects and activist works. The couple continued to create together until Lennon’s death in 1980.
Ono is best known as Lennon’s wife, but her marriage overshadowed her success as an artist and all of the major contributions she made to the art world as well as her involvement in political activism. Since Lennon’s death, Ono has continued to leave her mark on the world through her art, and even by sharing wisdom and motivational thoughts on Twitter. She is so much more than John Lennon’s wife.