New York: Yoko Ono, 1971. Offset. Saddlestapled. Unpaginated [112pp]. 12 x 12 in. Near fine with slight toning on wrappers. Item #6676
Yoko Ono’s catalog for an exhibition that never existed, or only existed as a conceptual work in and of itself. Ono took out ads in the Village Voice and New York Times announcing a one-woman show at the MoMA, running December 1-15, 1971. She produced this exhibition catalog to further publicize the exhibition, which features collaged images of Ono in MoMA’s sculpture garden with a massive glass jar filled with flies, which she released into the city before documenting their movements. The exhibition catalog features photographs of various locations in New York where the flies traveled (including on a sleeping John Lennon), fly tracking charts and lists, instructions to readers to perform tasks and thought exercises related to the respective circulations of flies and the book’s postcards, and vignettes and thought exercises defamiliarizing the concept of ownership.
Ono staged the show without MoMA’s knowledge. She pasted a sign describing the release of flies into the city and a handwritten note to the museum’s ticket booth that read “This is Not Here”-- a phrase that reoccurs in Ono’s work. Ono gravitated towards using flies in her work frequently throughout the early 1970s, releasing a film titled “Fly” the year prior to this performance and an album titled “Fly” in the same year.