March 28, 2011

Yoko Ono Birth Announcement


While in Tokyo in 1963, pioneering performance and Fluxus artist Yoko Ono sent out this little, 3-card set of poems, art works and photographs to let friends back in the US know of the birth of her daughter Kyoko. [And perhaps to let them know of her marriage a couple of months before to her second husband, musician Tony Cox, and perhaps to let them figure out that she and her first husband Toshi Ichiyanagi had divorced? How well did news travel back then?]

Anyway, after the picture of the baby sticking out her tongue, my favorite part of this birth announcement is the copyright notice. Both poems were included in Grapefruit, the collection of art instructions Ono first published in 1964.

According to the Wikipedians,

In the early years of this marriage, Ono left most of Kyoko's parenting to Cox while she pursued her art full-time and Tony managed publicity. After she divorced Cox on February 2, 1969, Ono and Cox engaged in a bitter legal battle for custody of Kyoko, which resulted in Ono being awarded full custody. However, in 1971, Cox disappeared with eight-year-old Kyoko, in violation of the custody order. Cox subsequently became a Christian and raised Kyoko in a Christian group known as the Church of the Living Word (or "the Walk"). Cox left the group with Kyoko in 1977. Living an underground existence, Cox changed the girl's name to Rosemary.
Apparently, Ono and Kyoko/Rosemary only made contact again in 1994. Life can be very complicated sometimes.

The birth announcement was included in a 2007 exhibition at the Getty Center, Art, Anti-Art, Non-Art: Experimentations in the Public Sphere in Postwar Japan, 1950-1970. []

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