Golden Lioness

Yoko Ono Debuts Depressing New Work, Receives Award

Yoko Ono, the “world’s most famous unknown artist,” as described by John Lennon, is set to receive the Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale. Ono says the award is an honor: “I was shocked because I felt I was an outsider.” Before marrying Lennon in 1969, Ono was already a prominent avant-garde artist. Their infamous “Bed-In” the same year was a continuation of their creativity; however, the public scrutiny of their marriage became crippling to her artistic expression. Ono’s new show at the Biennale, Anton’s Memory, is a collection of installations of a mother’s figure seen through her son’s memory. “All my observations of what women suffer have culminated in that particular show,” she says. “We are so privileged. Think about women in Arab countries. Their pain is unspeakable but they are women too, you know, and I carry their pain in me.”