Sunday, May 03, 2009

of beds and fruit and recipes

fig. a: bed-in Montreal 1969

2009 marks the 40th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous/infamous bed-ins, one of which took place in suite 1742 of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel right here in Montreal. Beginning on May 26, 1969 and lasting one whole week, the Montreal bed-in was the second of two odd, bed-bound happenings they staged as part of their extended honeymoon, and the one that resulted in the "Give Peace a Chance" recording. The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal is currently commemorating the event with an exhibition entitled "Imagine: the Peace Ballad of John & Yoko," and the show is both more extensive and more interesting than one might have, well, imagined.

yoko ono apple 1966 fig. b: yoko ono apple 1966

Among other things, it goes a long way towards setting the, uh, record straight on John and Yoko.

the beatles apple 1968 fig. c: the beatles apple 1968

fig. d: john & yoko acorns 1969

There wasn't any mention of what John & Yoko ate during their stay at the Queen Elizabeth, but fruit are an important motif in the first few rooms of the show,

fig. e: yoko grapefruit 1970 (1964)

and Yoko Ono's 1960s "instruction paintings" and "instruction pieces" are essentially conceptual art recipes.

Sample "recipe":

Painting To Let The Evening Light Go Through (1961)

Hang a bottle behind a canvas. Place the canvas where the west light comes in. The painting will exist when the bottle creates a shadow on the canvas, or it does not have to exist. The bottle may contain liquor, water, grasshoppers, ants, or singing insects, or it does not have to contain.

Back at home our cats were staging their very own 40th anniversary commemoration.

bed-in fig. f: bed-in Montreal 2009*

And out the window the view looked like this:

instant karma fig. g: instant karma

"Imagine: the Peace Ballad of John & Yoko" runs through June 21, 2009 at the Musée des Beaux Arts (1379 Sherbrooke St. W., (514) 285-1600). Admission is free.


* a.k.a. the peace ballad of Boris & Audrey

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