Double Fantasy - Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
Liverpool Museum - 18 May 2018 to 22 April 2019
Walking away from this show I chatted with my friend about the strong message of peace that Yoko and John share. We pondered how that seems naive in the present day - are we more desensitised and disempowered? We concluded it makes total sense to be working towards peace now, to feel shame for that is the shame.
Wandering around this exhibition - which was much better than I expected it to be - I found myself thinking about the divide between who is a musician and who is a punter in the West. I’ve often found it liberating when this invisible wall is removed and society behaves as though it is natural for everyone to make music.
The strongest I ever felt this was in Beirut, singing until sunrise. Anyone could grab a guitar, a drum, a water container, use their voice and go for it. The line between performer and audience was often blurred. I read somewhere recently that Quincy Jones advocated everyone should have music in their life alongside the main thing they are doing, as it is so valuable and core to human expression.
It was good to see videos of Yoko Ono's band in this show, though conceptual art is clearly her strength.
There was a new piece in the hallway, which was wall papered with world maps in black and white. Visitors were encouraged to colour in the maps where they felt peace should be in the world. Simple, powerful, beautiful - as her work so often is. This reminded me of when I was an art student in Liverpool (a bit ago), referencing Yoko Ono's work and discussing with a tutor - Ralph - how her artwork is actually really interesting but overshadowed by The Beatles - she was so hated! Nice that seems to be turning around now.
A few years ago the Serpentine Gallery in London gave her a show that was fairly encompassing... though I don't remember all that much about it. That was for her artwork, whereas this one is about the lives of John and Yoko with some of their work woven into that.
The Liverpool Museum website has a thorough description of the current exhibition here: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/exhibitions/double-fantasy/