Exhibitions: Wish Tree

Yoko Ono (Japanese, b. 1933). Wish Tree instructions, 2012. Courtesy of the artist

November 15, 2012–January 6, 2013

Trained as a musician, Yoko Ono began creating artworks she called “instruction paintings” in 1961. These word-pieces rely on viewers for completion, either through their imagination or by literally following the directions Ono had written. Wish Tree, an ongoing project that has been installed in a variety of contexts, expands on these early works by soliciting and gathering wishes from those who encounter it. Presented across continents and decades, it has become an open creative collaboration between Ono and the more than one million people who have shared their dreams.

After each presentation of Wish Tree ends, all the wishes are collected, to be buried—unread—around the Imagine Peace Tower (2007), a monumental outdoor light installation in Reykjavík, Iceland, created by Ono in memory of her late husband, John Lennon. Believing that “all my works are a form of wishing,” Ono seeks to encourage others, through projects such as this one, to believe in the collective power of their hopes for the future, and to inspire “a sense of solidarity in a world now filled with fear and confusion.”

This Wish Tree is presented in recognition of Yoko Ono's receipt of the Brooklyn Museum's 2012 Women in the Arts Award.