Iconic Participatory Artwork by Yoko Ono Begins International Tour

(New York, NY, November 10, 2020) The American Federation of Arts (AFA) is pleased to announce the national tour of Yoko Ono: Mend Piece. The national tour is organized by the American Federation of Arts. The presenting institutions are the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA (January 16–April 4, 2021); Whangārei Art Museum, Whangārei, New Zealand (May 28–August 22, 2021); Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL (September 25–December 11, 2021); and Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO (April 8–July 10, 2022).

In this iteration of the iconic installation Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version) (1966/2015), Ono proposes communal mending as an act of healing. In a seemingly simple white room, shattered cups and saucers are placed on a table. Participants are asked to bind the fragments together using common household items: twine, glue, scissors, and tape. The resulting creations are displayed on nearby shelves, evidence of the power of collective action. Secluded from the bustling world, Ono’s meditative environment inspires reflections on the tumultuous concerns of society, as well as personal struggles.

Conceived in the 1960s at a moment of rapid cultural transformation, this early example of participatory artwork still resonates strongly today. Mend Piece calls to mind the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. For Ono, a visitors’ small act of mending holds the potential to resonate at a universal scale. With straightforward directions, the artist asks participants to let go of pretension and consider larger ideas: “Mend with wisdom/mend with love./It will mend the earth/at the same time.”

Yoko Ono’s work radically questions the division between art and the everyday, the artist and the viewer. Participating in Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version), one experiences Ono’s unique practice both intellectually and physically. “The AFA is honored to tour this recent iteration of Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version) to museums internationally, particularly during these challenging times,” says Pauline Willis, Director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts. “Ono’s message of healing and coming together is the perfect antidote for all of us.”

Yoko Ono: Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version) is presented as part of AFA’s ArtRoom, an ongoing series of contemporary art installations that highlights the work of diverse international artists and provides audiences with immersive and perspective-shifting experiences. This groundbreaking series increases access to installation art for cultural institutions and their audiences.

 Yoko Ono (b. 1933, Tokyo, Japan) is widely recognized for her pioneering conceptual art, which has encompassed performance, instruction, film, music, and writing. She has been the focus of major solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Guggenheim Bilbao, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Today, she continues to work tirelessly for world peace.

This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA). The presentation of Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version) is part of ArtRoom, an ongoing series of contemporary art installations organized by the AFA.

The American Federation of Arts is the leader in traveling exhibitions internationally. A nonprofit organization founded in 1909, the AFA is dedicated to enriching the public’s experience and understanding of the visual arts through organizing and touring art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishing exhibition catalogues featuring important scholarly research, and developing educational programs.

Media Inquiries: Shawna Gallancy, sgallancy@amfedarts.org 212.988.7700 x 205.


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