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Yoko Ono's Influence on the Life and Art of John Lennon

People's views about the relationship between John Lennon and Yoko Ono vary. Some may say that Ono had a negative influence on Lennon's career as an artist. Others may take the opposite view. Either way, Ono had a lasting effect on Lennon's life and artistic pursuits in ways that were transparent to the public. In particular, Ono influenced Lennon in the following ways: she intensified Lennon's focus on avant-garde performance art; she led Lennon to give more of his energy to political causes; and she brought a sense of love and contentment to Lennon's life that influenced his later music.

Lennon and Ono met at a preview showing of Ono's visual art (Pirro). As an avant-garde artist, Ono's work focused on pushing the boundaries of what were considered acceptable forms of expression by mainstream society (Pirro). Her works were interactive, inviting the audience to become part of the piece. Included in this was performance art, in which Ono herself became integral to the art piece. This was to influence Lennon as the two worked together. Probably the best-known example of their performance art collaboration was what they termed a "bed-in" at an Amsterdam hotel on their honeymoon. The couple lay in bed naked and the media was invited in to speak with them. Lennon and Ono said that this performance was a political statement to encourage people to embrace peace. When later questioned about their method of expression on the Dick Cavett Show, the couple explained that they realized their form of art was perceived as humorous by many ("John Lennon and Yoko Ono..."). They emphasized that point of displaying their art in such an unusual and controversial way was to focus attention on the issue at hand, which was in this case and in much of their work, the Vietnam war. They said that it was not necessary for everyone to lie in bed to achieve peace; they hoped that people seeing their art would be influenced to think more deeply about the i...

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