While Yoko Ono Makes For an Amusing Meme, There is Nothing Funny About Her Radical Roots

Imagine Yoko Ono Was An Artist

I Wonder If You Can 

In 1966, long before some art scene shyster taped a banana to a wall for a $120,000 tally, a Japanese artist offered up her own fruity display in a London art gallery.


Wikipedia gives a deadpan description of the alleged artwork, Apple: “The work consists of an apple on top of a plexiglass stand. A brass plaque bearing the word ‘APPLE’ is fixed to the front of the stand.” Just in case you couldn’t tell.

Art Yoko Ont

This apple caught the eye of Beatle John Lennon. It inspired a meet-cute moment between the artistes, when the cheeky Lennon took a bite out of the display, to the annoyance of its presenter, Yoko Ono. Of course, she forgave him, and the rest is history.

Art Yoko Ono

(As an aside, this produce did not produce the name Apple Corps Limited, the music corporation of the Beatles. Paul McCartney had basic beginnings in mind, as in the primer mantra “A is for Apple.” Plus he was inspired by an actual work of art, Le Jeu de Mourre, a painting by Surrealist Rene Magritte.)


Rene Magritte, Le Jeu de Mourre

This is an Apple, Not a Banana

The subsequent Lennon/Ono partnership is often blamed for the breakup of the Beatles, although there were many other factors festering within the group itself: personal rivalries, the death of band manager Brian Epstein, fallout from an unsuccessful dalliance with an Indian guru, and scads of LSD have all been noted. An acid-fried brain could explain how Lennon fell so completely in thrall with a Conceptual Art con artist, to the point of abandoning both his family and musical brothers.

Post Beatles, John and Yoko strayed into heroin, agitprop politics, and avant-garde posturing. It was an era of radical chic, and they followed the trends. Footage of angry and unstable Lennon raving about peace and love is a great example of cognitive dissonance. Like all the other anti-war activists, the celebrity couple were either dupes or willing advocates not for peace, but for the victory of communist totalitarianism.

Ever since Yoko Ono rose to prominence, fairly or not, she’s become a trope. To call someone a Yoko implies they are an off-putting, gold-digging interloper who sabotages a successful person’s situation.

Yoko Ono Art

Yoko Ono Art

That reputation inspired the meme currently circulating regarding the whipping of the Harry Formerly Known as Prince.

Yoko Ono Art

Yoko Ono Art

Yet Ono did largely give up her own art career in favor of performing collaboratively with Lennon. She added her avante-garde vocal stylings to Lennon’s recordings, wailing like Woody Woodpecker hammering away at John Cage’s skull. Without her infamous caterwauling, the New Wave dance band the B-52s would have lacked a key influence for their sound.

Because of Yoko’s sacrifice, we were deprived of more gems like Apple, and these other masterpieces:


The artist stripped bare by her audience, even. A performance where spectators were invited to snip away Miss Ono’s clothing piece by piece.

Yoko Ono Art 


Object in Three Parts – Revolution

A display of the pill, a condom, and a diaphragm. How hard was this to conceive?

Yoko Ono Art

Painting to Hammer a Nail

Another participation piece, where patrons can create their own nail art. (Some assembly required).

Yoko Ono Art 

Yoko Ono Art 

Bag Piece

In which Yoko put herself into a big bag in public, for reasons.

Yoko Ono Art

Anyone not part of the Postmodern cult would scoff at such absurd gestures and banal results. And yet, ironically, Yoko Ono was actually far ahead of her time, as far as the arts establishment is concerned. Her obnoxious mix of underdeveloped offerings, woke politics, and defensive obliqueness are the common poses affected in the bleeding edge contemporary art scene today. Where Yoko herself learned these strategies is a troubling heritage.

Yoko Ono Art

Yoko Ono originally gained notoriety as a member of the Fluxus art movement of the swinging 60’s. As part of the elite’s on-going mission to remove concerns like technical prowess  and coherence from art, Fluxus was celebrated as a Dada do-over, yet another challenge to the stuffy idea that art involves the skillful creation of a tangible object.

Yoko Ono Art

In addition to promoting Conceptual art, the Fluxus community was identified by founder George Maciunas as a radical leftwing movement, dedicated to spawning art communes modeled after the glorious collectivist farms of the Soviet Union. When attempted, these ventures predictably failed to thrive.

Yoko Ono Art 

Maciunas created a manifesto to hype his ideas. Filled with Marxist fervor, this slight and incoherent rant gave insight into the radicals’ methodology: they would seize power by destroying the legacies of Western civilization. This would be accomplished by the rejection and manipulation of commonly understood language and concepts.



I Read the News Today, Oh Boy:  A Maciunas Fluxus Manifesto 

Unfortunately, “Empire follows art and not vice versa,” as the visionary artist William Blake observed. The mid-century leftist partisanship, misdirection and deconstruction enacted by a bunch of pretentious flakes in art galleries snowballed into the standard operating procedures of our institutions today. As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:


The arrogant ruling class is possessed by Postmodernism. They’re all in on the idea that tearing down the traditions and standards of Western civilization will cement their grasp on unaccountable power.

Once you understand that, the promotion of Postmodern art as the pinnacle of artistic achievement becomes understandable. It explains the Orwellian efforts behind the elevation of mindless attention-seeking as an attempted substitute for values, achievements and principles. Hyping soulless, unskilled art has a toxic, weakening effect on society as a whole.

Postmodern art is a tool of oppression.

But what about Yoko? One can’t coast on reputation forever, so she occasionally tries to hammer out another artwork.

In 2012, in the spirit of mushy multicultural Londonistan’s take on the Olympics, Yoko was trotted out as a Postmodern Old Master. Her new work To The Light  consisted mainly of three heaps of dirt, a faded vintage War Is Over poster, and lots of hype around the empty slogan “Imagine Peace,” which was conveniently available on commemorative towels and water bottles .

It’s amazing Yoko’s still producing work of the same quality that she did in the 1960s! And by same quality, I mean a total lack of it.

One can only wonder if the 100 million victims of the communist collectivism she advocates are part of her imagination.

To the Light

Ono She’s at It Again 


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12 thoughts on “While Yoko Ono Makes For an Amusing Meme, There is Nothing Funny About Her Radical Roots


  2. Ah Yoko. She was boring before Lennon, she was boring with Lennon, and she is boring after Lennon. She will be boring in death also. Very consistent.

  3. TOTALLY AGREE 50, MILLION, BILLION PERCENT!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!! And, an impressive, important article I am THRILLED YOU WROTE & PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A.

  4. I admire Yoko Ono’s art. I have all of her books.I have all of her albums. To the author of this article I say to you & In the words of John Lennon “…living is easy with eyes closed misunderstanding all you see…”

  5. Bit rough on the B-52s there, Richard. What I found most interesting was Maciunas manifesto, or whatever that was, and the bleak, revolutionary politics. People seem to forget that the war between fine art and conceptual art was waged by conceptual art, who sought to destroy the Western tradition of painting.

    We look back in horror at the radical, political figures of the 20th century, such as Chariman Mao or Pol Pot, but we still celebrate the artists who sought to do the same thing to art and that they did to people and cultures. Maciunas wanted a bit of a “Cultural Revolution” in art.

    There’s that notion in the art world that “radical” is always good, and I am highly suspect of the term, and usually associate it with something that’s going to be rather slight on aesthetics, and ham fisted on its politics or other ideas.

    That said, I remember when people used to hate Yoko, not because of her radical/idealist politics, but because of her appearance, and that she was Japanese. And there was more than a little racism involved here. I once watched a movie about John Lennon in a theater — this is at least 30 years ago — and the girls sitting behind me would sneer and heckle every time Yoko appeared. Point is, it’s rather difficult to criticize Yoko — and I do — without being associated with a sometimes nasty and ignorant anti Yoko bigotry.

    Also, thanks for pointing out the apple on a pedestal, which makes Martin Creed’s crumpled paper ball on a pedestal all the more stupid, and Cattelan’s banana insipid-on-steroids.

  6. Very interesting article, that presents the creepy similarity between Yoko Ono and Meghan Markle, they are both sick, megalomaniacs, bent on owning and controlling a great man and taking him away from the best thing he ever had.

  7. She has no strengths. John was used by her for his name and money. I often asked him what caused him to bother with her (John and I were together for seven years, we met when I was seventeen. He kissed me goodbye and told me to wait up. He died that night). John told me it was more like a business relationship then love. He thought he was blimey and she was blimey. He also told me about all the drugs he had taken. But Yoko had a $5,000 a day heroin habit (she needed John’s money) and started John on heroin. He also told me the truth about Sean. Yoko is getting old and will have to answer for her actions one day. SHE NEVER HAD ANY TALENT AND NEVER WILL. SHE’S NOT A HAS BEEN SHE’S A NEVER WAS.IN HER SELFISH NEED FOR MONEY AND NOTORIETY SHE DESTROYED JOHN. HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT!

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