Yoko Ono- Thoughts on “Cut Piece”

Yoko Ono is a Japanese artist who makes avant-garde art and performance art, but also is a peace activist and is married to one of the members of the Beatles, John Lennon. One of her works we talked about in class was “Cut Piece,” which I found to be a pretty interesting performance piece. In the piece, the artist wears a black dress and invites the audience members to come on stage and cut a piece of her clothing off with the scissors that rest in front of her. The audience is extremely important in this piece because their participation is needed in order for the art to be made and the clothing to be cut off. The piece demonstrates boundaries and allows strangers to interfere with the boundary of touching and de-clothing a woman they probably do not know. As the audience participates, the boundary is crossed but if they did not participate the boundary would still exist. The fact that they do choose to participate in the piece references the idea of boundaries and if they are being crossed, why do they exist in the first place? This concept makes the piece very powerful because the idea is simple and voluntary but portrayed so well.

I like this piece because although it is so simple, it conveys a message about life and boundaries and what is appropriate and inappropriate, but who really has the right to decide that? Yoko Ono allows herself to be very submissive; strangers cut off her clothes until she is almost nude. This shows her strong character and how much power she chooses to give the audience, because not only have they been given the power to reveal her naked body but they have been given the choice to do so. This process also factors into human relationships and curiosity, and the yearning people have to be a part of something. However, she does keep a bit of dominance, she is allowed leaving and putting an end the piece whenever she wants. I like that she still gives herself that power even though she is letting people take away what some people may see as a sense of pride. The piece although subtle and simple really hints at huge issues within life, which I really like.

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