National Museum of Women in the Arts
Yoko Ono
February 18 1933 - present
Photograph of Yoko Ono, by Chris Floyd, courtesy of the artist. (c) Yoko Ono
Place of Birth:
American, Japanese
Phonetic Spelling:
YOH-koh OH-noh
Minority status:
Work Type/Media:
Multimedia (electronic, digital, video, film), Performance Art , Sculpture
Artistic Role(s):
Filmmaker, Installation Artist, Performance Artist, Sculptor
Conceptual Art, Fluxus
Artist's Biography:
Since the beginning of her prolific career, Yoko Ono has consistently been a pioneer in developing new art forms, moving freely beyond and between the genres, from the avant-garde to Pop. Her profoundly social art aims to involve the viewer as an active participant and to break down longstanding distinctions between art and everyday life.

Ono has been credited with being one of the originators of Conceptual Art, and during the 1960s Ono was a key participant in many of the innovations of the New York, Tokyo, and London vanguards, including Fluxus and underground film and performance which laid the groundwork for major developments in the music and performance art of the later part of the century.

When she married John Lennon in 1969, the couple made use of the media coverage surrounding their honeymoon to campaign for world peace, a theme that suffused many of the collaborative pieces they later created. Ono’s work in the 1990s addressed themes of change, survival, and time. From the 1980s to the present her artwork has been shown internationally in one-woman shows and retrospectives. YES Yoko Ono, Ono’s major retrospective show, has earned critical acclaim and traveled throughout the United States and Canada and more recently to Europe, Korea and Japan, where it concluded the worldwide tour.

Reflecting on her reputation for being outrageous, Ono smiles and says, "I do have to rely on my own judgment, although to some people my judgment seems a little out of sync. I have my own rhythm and my own timing, and that's simply how it is."

Biography courtesy of Yoko Ono

Other Occupation(s):
Activist, Composer, Musician, Poet, Writer
Place(s) of Residence:
New York
Where Trained/Schools:
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, USA (1953-1956) Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan (1952)
Related Visual Artists:
wife of and collaborated with John Lennon friend of George Maciunas friend of Jon Hendricks friend of Nam June Paik friend of Yvonne Rainer friend of Kiki Smith friend of La Monte Young friend of Allan Kaprow friend of George Brecht friend of George Segal colleague of Mary Beth Edelson colleague of Shigeko Kubota influenced by John Cage influenced by Marcel Duchamp
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Lifetime Achievement Award, Japanese Society, New York, NY, USA (2005) Fifth Museum of Contemporary Art Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2003) Grammy Award for Album of the Year, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Los Angeles, CA, USA (1982)
Earliest exhibition:
Paintings and Drawings by Yoko Ono, AG Gallery, New York, NY, USA (1961)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution
Artist retrospective(s):
Yoko Ono: Horizontal Memories, Astrup Fearnly Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway (2005) YES Yoko Ono, Japan Society, New York, NY, USA (2002) (traveling exhibition) Yoko Ono, Museum of Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, England (1997)