image courtesy of Or Books    

image courtesy of Or Books


A copy of Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, along with wine stains and an ashtray filled with lipsticked cigarettes, was once a coffee table staple for a bevy of young female creatives.   For some, having the book in plain sight served as a subliminal mating call: Talented Young Woman Seeks Equally Talented Young Man for a Meaningful Relationship That May Result In Changing The World.  But Grapefruit, originally published in 1964, was more than just a trendy product of Mrs. John Lennon. It is a brilliant example of conceptual art and the Fluxus movement and a brilliant combination of Buddhism and Ono’s exposure to the sensibilities of John Cage.  Grapefruit was actually inspired by a different musical influence, her relationship with experimental musician Ichiyanagi Toshi.  Grapefruit establishes Ono’s ability to cleverly extract, create and inspire long before Lennon.  The book was proof that Ono was a forward thinking avant garde artist in her own rite.

Thus. the arrival of Acorn is significant in that it bookends the eventful journey of Yoko Ono as an artist.  It’s most recognizable brilliance is that it remains defiantly consistent to form both in content, shape and style. In the books introduction Ono writes:  “It’s been nearly 50 years since my book of conceptual instructions,  ‘Grapefruit,’ was first published. I’m riding a time machine that’s going back to the old ways!”

Acorn reprises the experimental exercises of its predecessor and is comprised of a series of 100 blog post by Ono from 2008.  The exercises are quirky and Ono-esque but they insist that creativity and inspiration exist when one challenges the linear approach to creative process and begins to look beyond.  The book’s title pays homage to the 1968 symbolic peace planting of two acorns in the garden of Coventry Cathedral, England by Ono and Lennon.  A year later, after the couple wed, seeds were sent to other world leaders in hopes of sprouting living sculptures that represented a commitment to peace.  Although some of the seeds were met with confusion and disregarded by heads of state in 1969, Ono proves inevitably triumphant in her intention as the book Acorn is destined to inspire future generations to think differently.

Collette McGruder