Wednesday 8 December 2010 by Ian Taylor

Obscure Japanese artist marks 30 years on rich list


The little known Japanese performance artist Yoko Ono has given a rare interview in which she puts her continuing financial security down to “being in the right place at the right time” 30 years ago today.

Choking back the tears, Ms Ono explained, “I had stayed home to meditate when my partner at the time popped out for some milk. He never came back. I was devastated at first – I can’t stand black coffee and he’d taken my last couple of dollars.”

“But it was the following year that I started getting recognition for my work and the cheques started rolling in, so every cloud and all that.”

Ms Ono’s conceptual art had been greeted unenthusiastically prior to that point. Elaborate performance events and multi-media installations were of little interest the art world throughout the 1970s, and those that attracted any reviews at all were variously described as ‘inaccessible’ and ‘arty farty crap’.

Yoko Ono – Artists

“It never occurred to me that the performance art work I created back was so popular,” said Ono.

“It’s bewildering, but they must have been slow burners as I’m still being very well paid for it.”

“My experimental films of naked buttocks and staged events where performers hid from the audience for the entire evening must have really hit the spot during the 1980s boom-time”.

“People keep asking me about this John Lennon guy, but really, all I know is he bummed around with musicians. I think he only married me to try and further his career – Imagine”.

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