Since the 1990s, Yoko Ono has created her work Wish Tree in locations all over world. In honor of Ono’s acceptance of the Brooklyn Museum’s 2012 Women in the Arts Award, we have installed this work in our third floor elevator lobby through January 6, 2013. Additionally, in a rare opportunity to see an extended interview with Ono, we recorded the conversation I had with her during the program for the tenth annual Women in the Arts Luncheon, which took place at the museum on November 15.
A collaborative project between the artist and her audience, Wish Tree is Ono’s open invitation to viewers to write their own wishes on small tags that the writer then hangs on the live tree – making a kind of living monument to all our dreams, big and small. Ono has recounted that as a child in Japan she would write wishes on small pieces of paper which she then attached to the branches of flowering trees in the courtyard of a temple.
Over the course of our exhibition, as the tree fills with wishes, the museum will occasionally collect the tags and at the end of the show, all the cards are returned to Ono, to be buried, unread, around her Imagine Peace Tower, a 2007 installation in Reykjavík, Iceland, dedicated to the memory of her late husband John Lennon. More than a million people have shared their wishes with Yoko Ono, and we invite you to add your dreams. As the artist has said, “All my works are a form of wishing. Keep wishing while you participate.”
Sackler Family Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Catherine J. Morris was an independent curator for more than twelve years prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum. Catherine has organized several exhibitions that explored issues related to feminism and its impact as a social, political, and intellectual construct on the development of visual culture.