Yoko Ono's Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings

Yoko Ono's Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings

Sarah Coffey
Jul 16, 2007

Yoko Ono performed in Chicago this past weekend.

We're fascinated with Ono's strange genre-mixing, particularly the way she combines how-to instructions with conceptual art.

Some of the best examples of Ono's how-to art are archived in Grapefruit, originally published in 1964.

Although it doesn't offer advice on furniture arrangements, Grapefruit does give the reader instructions for experiencing space in new ways.

While some how-to's are pretty far out, others are surprisingly traditional, like Wish Piece, based on the Japanese custom of tying prayers to trees:

• Make a wish.
• Write it down on a piece of paper.
• Fold it and tie it around the branch of a wish tree.
• Ask your friends to do the same.
• Keep wishing until the branches are covered with wishes.

There's a lot of 60s idealism in Grapefruit that doesn't really mesh with the current zeitgeist, but in many ways Ono was (and is) ahead of her time. The minimal, poetic instructions are a refreshing (and often funny) take on living in the moment.

Bottom Image via the Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

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