July 16, 2010

"The Museum of Modern Art has turned down the volume on Yoko Ono's atrium art installation...."

Ha.
The installation features a microphone, speakers, and the instructions to visitors: "Scream against the wind/ against the wall/ against the sky" on the far wall. But according to museum employees, the loud, sporadic screams that resulted startled visitors, while staff members strained to speak to museum-goers over the noise. "It was disturbing to the staff at the information desk," said one employee who wished to remain anonymous because MoMA discourages its staff from commenting on artwork or internal affairs.

The Ono piece is featured prominently at the entrance to the museum's just-opened "Contemporary Art from the Collection" exhibition, a radical re-installation of its collection that adds nine Ono works. One employee said that the fitful, high-pitched screams caused visitors and even guards to jump with surprise. "Visitors complained," he said.
Shame on MoMA! They put Yoko Ono in there in the first place to lure the throngs of people who still pay attention to anything Beatles-related. Then, when the piece had its intended effect of startling and troubling people, they changed it, squelched it, undermining the artists' point to please the lame-oids they lured.

(Via Expecting Rain.)

27 comments:

Quayle said...

What exactly are you saying here, Ann?

That you don't believe in MOMA, you only believe in Yoko?

edutcher said...

Given that Ms. Ono was no lamer than her late husband, this is long overdue. Now, all we need is a re-thinking of the 'genius' of Lennon and McCartney.

Bob_R said...

So Leonard Pinth-Garnell has a new job.

E.M. Davis said...

Wake me up when Yoko Ono contributes something of real value to society.

MadisonMan said...

All MoMA has done has changed Ono's artwork, in effective creating a new one. For all I know, which ain't much, changing the art work is all part of the grand plan of the installation.

Richard Dolan said...

"Shame on MoMA!" says Ann, for two reasons. The first is a bait-and-switch complaint ("lure the throngs" but not deliver on what did the "luring"), which morphs into phony-art gripe ("undermining the artists' point").

Ha. Ann's 'j'accuse' nicely gets at the dilemma of a place like MOMA. It's a retail, consumer oriented business, selling access to high art, and devoted to pulling in the crowds of "lame-oids"; and it's a temple, devoted to the religion of Beauty, mediated through the sacred objects lovingly displayed within the holy of holies. The artist/creators of those sacred objects point the way to Heaven, a place we "lame-oids" can reach only by entering fully into the artists' priestly "point" of reference. You feel the temple-ness of the place just from the 'museum hush' that is part of the experience, despite the enormous crowds moving through the rooms.

Alas, when, as often happens, reality (in this case, all that screechy noise) intrudes, the whole image comes crashing down. It's as if Ravel's Bolero were being acted out in reverse.

Beth said...

I can't remember the source - it might have been a Rolling Stone article, or it might have been a friend's own wit - but a phrase sticks in my head from sometime in the late 70s, describing Yoko Ono's contribution in the Plastic Ono Band as "grunting pig noises from under a paper bag." I've always thought that was about right.

reader_iam said...

So, I guess the answer is no?

reader_iam said...

Or maybe, "Back off, bitch!"

(I'm sorry. I really, really, really COULDN'T resist.)

reader_iam said...

Something about listening to Yoko Yono fake an orgasm REALLY gives me the willies.

So to speak, as Trooper would say.

c3 said...

Its been thirty years now, can we once and for all say
"John Lennon is dead; Yoko...buhbye

jamboree said...

@RichardDoan

I don't see the two as necessarily mutually exclusive.

I went to MOMA for the 1st time with a just-graduated college roommate when we were still at the age to occasionally be doing hallucinogens and generally living life to its intense fullest-

really enjoyed the futurist room - but unlike everyone else in the place we weren't quiet or hushed. We were sober at the time, but laughing because it seemed we did "join" and - well- get the joke.

I remember the only other people gaily having a Good Time were a bunch of French people - probably because they weren't insecure in their cultural background.

Everyone else - quiet. That can be a genuine hushed reverence, but is often just dutiful boredom just like Church. And as in Church, it's missing the point.

Palladian said...

"Wake me up when Yoko Ono contributes something of real value to society."

I'm sure she pays a lot of taxes.

Palladian said...

"Everyone else - quiet. That can be a genuine hushed reverence, but is often just dutiful boredom just like Church."

Hushed reverence is only merited for artwork produced before 1700

jamboree said...

Actually, the more I think about this, the more I like it. i wouldn't go see it in a gallery, I don't particularly like it in and of itself, but I'm happy that it's in MOMA creating just the situation Ann described. That's the beauty of it. They should put one in the Vatican as well. Hah. You know, just to remind them. Heh.

WV: Catte. (Catty? Well, yes. I can be a bitch about such things.)

Sigivald said...

Yoko Ono is an "artist"?

Well, technically, I guess.

But who cares?

If she was there for any reason other than the fame of her husband, I might care a little about her "artistic vision" or whatnot.

But she isn't, and I don't.

I prefer art which is beautiful, or insightful, or maybe challenging about the first two.

"Scream at a wall!" is none of that. At best it seems to be shocking-for-shock's-sake, which has been the bane of the art "establishment" for decades now.

Joe said...

It's pretty funny that Anne still thinks modern art is actually about art and that most museums are about anything other than pretentiousness.

JackOfClubs said...

Huzzah! Maybe civilization will last a generation or two longer after all.

Pogo said...

Only the good die young.

Daniel said...

E.M. Davis, maybe you wake yourself up and get your ass out of bed at 10:38am on a Friday.

It's not my area, but my wife teaches art history and has told me that it's unfortunate that most people think of Yoko as the one who broke up the Beatles, because her art is apparently important.

Bob_R said...

It's working. I have watched "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash" often enough that whenever Yoko Ono is mentioned I think of Nasty and Chastity. Highly recommended.

Bryan said...

The interesting thing about Yoko Ono is that at that time there were more or perhaps 'some' connections between the avant-garde and pop music. Now, I suspect, there are almost none. Paul and John were both pretty aware of the contemporary composers. Doesn't mean Yoko's art is worthwhile in itself, though.

BJM said...

I remember watching Yoko mend a tea cup at a SoHo gallery a lifetime ago...not quite as exiting as watching paint dry, but close.

Yes, I admit it, we went in hopes of seeing and perhaps meeting John. He was a no show so we got in our Cadillac and drove down 42nd Street
Good car to drive after a war.

Kirk Parker said...

Turned down the volume on Yoko? Ok, that's a start, I guess.

Kirk Parker said...

"Wake me up when Yoko Ono contributes something of real value to society."

Well, being the inspiration for a totally hilarious Barenaked Ladies song may not be much, but it's not exactly nothing, either.

jeff said...

I've heard her before. Her "talent" is to sound like a cat being castrated with a rusty fork. By a blind guy. With his feet. What did they expect?

ricpic said...

Yoko Ono is a witch.