She turns 80 on February 18, yet throughout the ages Yoko Ono will always be known as the woman who broke up The Beatles.
So we weren’t too excited when a copy Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies (Amulet Books, $24.95) crossed our desk. There’s “nothing conventional about the book that celebrates the icon’s rich and often turbulent life and her innovative and idiosyncratic work . . . a master compilation that chronicles her life, art, and vision with lyrical prose, first-person anecdotes and stunning photographs.”
So promises the press release.
Ono did not write the book. It was penned by Nell Beram and Carolyn Boriss-Krimsky, two fans of Ono who obviously had access to her.
We can do the book no better justice than to quote from the press release. It tells all you need to know.
Always overshadowed by her famous coupling with John Lennon which both inspired and angered a generation, we have lost sight of the woman whose remarkable cutting-edge work deserves to be studied and appreciated for its own brilliance. In her early career she didn’t fit in anywhere. She was an outsider, often misunderstood—a misfit in every medium—and feeling that she was on the cusp of something important artistically that no one else recognized. Always provocative, she explored experimental art and music outside the mainstream with a peer group of some of the most influential artists of the 20th century . . .
Then she met John. They understood each other like no one had before, and henceforth, were inseparable. They anchored each other. Learned from each other. Fed off each other’s creativity. A beautiful marriage of love and art and relentless criticism. Life with one of the most famous men in the world was a strange, rare, invisible prison. The hateful stereotypes. The sexism. The racism. The hostility. She was the fringy artist leading the pop star astray. She was the home wrecker. She was cold. She was a warping influence. She was ultimately blamed for the Beatles’ breakup. Their partnership was difficult for the two of them as his fans felt that she was ruining his work by making it too weird, and those who admired her art felt that he was ruining it by making it too mainstream. Both tumultuous and filled with love, their finest collaboration became their son, Sean. But too soon, John was taken by an assassin’s bullet. Though tragic and heart-breaking, life did go on. So did Yoko.
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