Yoko Ono
Music of the Mind

★★★☆☆

On until 1 September 2024

In the kind of Sunday afternoon daze visitors experience when visiting the museum, one may mistakenly queue up to enter Tate’s seemingly permanent installation of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms instead of Yoko Ono’s retrospective two floors below. Either show is as full of punters as it is of signs, one no different from the last, as though they were phantom mirror reproductions. 

Ono’s ‘pieces’, so numerous that they are cramped even in the largest of Tate’s gallery complexes, manifest as sets of instructions, documents, and the odd living object. “Count the number of lights in the city every day”, bids one. Call an apple an apple, rhymes another. Fly. Imagine. Remember.

The museum craves poetry. Trying to rewrite the oversights of art history which failed to credit Ono’s conceptual word salad, Tate accepts her instructions as Apollinarian rain. Grinning with recognition under John and Yoko’s “War is Over” banner, it wants to believe that such banalities might still change the world.

Unfortunately, they didn’t. For all of conceptual art’s enduring populism, the worth of Ono’s practice lies today in an academic argument about her influence on art school undergraduates and performance art divas like Marina Abramović. This show might sell tickets. But it won’t change the weather.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Justin Caguiat, Dreampop at Modern Art ★★★★☆

Justin Caguiat

Dreampop

★★★★☆

This is the sort of exhibition that makes a critic question the quality of their judgment.

Vinca Petersen, Me, Us and Dogs at Edel Assanti ★★★☆☆

Vinca Petersen

Me, Us and Dogs

★★★☆☆

Close up, Petersen’s innocents today conjure ideas of redneck resistance. At scale, of state-marketed utopia. The middle ground is envy.

Carole Ebtinger, Esther Gatón at South Parade ★★☆☆☆

Carole Ebtinger, Esther Gatón

phosphorescence of my local lore

★★☆☆☆

Rot overpowered this subject and came for the object next. 

Christo, Early Works at Gagosian Open ★★★★☆

Christo

Early Works

★★★★☆

To appreciate Christo’s early works against his wishes, one must forget his later stunts.

Asami Shoji et al., Gestures of Resistance at A.I. ★★★★☆

Asami Shoji et al.

Gestures of Resistance

★★★★☆

The figures appear as though in x-ray and helplessly foretell their own ends.

Tommy Camerno, Delirious at Filet ★★☆☆☆

Tommy Camerno

Delirious

★★☆☆☆

What’s left of the show are stage props that feed adolescent imaginations with false memories of the long-finished party.

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