Yoko Ono ‘In the time of shaking’ The Irish Museum of Modern Art 7th May 2004

Yoko Ono ‘In the time of shaking’ The Irish Museum of Modern Art 7th May 2004
shakingbookI’ve been a fan of Yoko Ono for some time. I think her influence on the music of John Lennon and the Beatles, and music in general, is often underplayed and, at worst, completely overlooked. I saw that Yoko had been invited by Amnesty, along with The Edge from U2, to open  the exhibition ‘In the time of shaking’ at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Yoko is a long time Amnesty supporter and in 2002 she gave them the rights to use John Lennon’s song “Imagine” in a campaign for human rights. At the time I was visiting Dublin once a month through work, so I fixed my next visit to coincide with the event. There was one remaining problem; the event was a private view with entry by invitation only. I emailed the Museum, asking for an invitation, and to my delight, a couple of days later I got a reply, inviting me to the event 🙂 .
The press release: “Yoko Ono will attend the Irish Museum of Modern Art and officially open one of the most exciting exhibitions of contemporary new Irish art to go on show in recent years. ‘In the time of shaking’ is a sale, exhibition and book involving over 100 of Ireland’s leading artists in support of human rights and the work of Amnesty International.. has been conceived and selected by Professor Ciarán Benson of University College Dublin, and members of the ‘Artists for Amnesty International 2004’  Committee…  Ciarán Benson explains the title to the show as follows: “I take the show’s title – In the time of shaking – from a phrase I remembered and liked in an old translation of Psalm 27.  ‘Shaking’ is a metaphor for ‘trouble’.  http://artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=10215#.UshJ9ssgGSM
photo(134)I know Dublin quite well, but this was the first time I had been to the Museum of Modern Art. I took a bus and soon found the venue, which is set in beautiful gardens. People were already arriving; the opening of the exhibition was attended by 1,000 people. I had a couple of drinks and a few nibbles and wandered around the gardens and the exhibition, taking in some of the work, which was very impressive. Soon Bill Shipsey, chairman of Art for Amnesty, introduced The Edge. U2 have supported Amnesty for more than 20 years, and the Edge recalled attending the opening of the first Amnesty Irish offices in Dublin in 1984. ‘I’m proud of the way Ireland and Irish people have supported Amnesty ever since then.’ he said, ‘I’m also particularly pleased that this Irish initiative is spear-heading what will hopefully become a series of similar art exhibitions around the world that will raise money for Amnesty.’ Edge then gave a synopsis of Yoko Ono’s life, closing with “Yoko comes to Dublin. Yoko likes Dublin and Dublin likes Yoko”. He then asked Yoko Ono to officially open the exhibition. Wearing a black trouser suit, she emerged smiling (Irish Times, 2004).
photo(135)Yoko said “I am proud, pleased and happy to be here in Dublin today to open this wonderful exhibition which not only helps generate the support Amnesty needs but is providing a fund-raising model which we can use around the world. ‘John was very conscious of his Irish background. He was extremely proud of being Liverpool Irish, which gave him a sense of rebellion and inspired his poetry. I really think that his poetry definitely came from his Liverpool Irish heritage – tradition, beauty, sense of humour and word play all being strong Irish qualities.’ http://www.u2.com/news/article/405
The crowd was a mix of those from the Irish art community, journalists and a sprinkling of fans of Yoko. One guy was right at the front of the crowd with his copy of “Grapefruit”, no doubt hoping for a signature. But there was no opportunity for autographs; as soon as Yoko had finished speaking she was ushered away, apparently to take a tour of U2’s studio.
It was great to see Yoko, albeit fleetingly. She spoke well, looked great, and came over as a charming lady. I even managed to take a few (not very good) photos, a couple of which I’ve included here , along with an image of the “In the time of shaking” book. I was so impressed that I wished I could see her in a performance setting, something which Marie and I did a couple of years later at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool, and which I’ll blog on tomorrow.
Yoko Ono Imagine Peace site: http://imaginepeace.com/
Amnesty: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/
Irish Museum of Modern Art: http://www.imma.ie/en/index.htm

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