In a world first, the Museum of Liverpool will host this ground-breaking exhibition telling John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s story in their own words. The exhibition explores the personal and creative chemistry of this iconic couple and their ongoing Imagine Peace campaign.
Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is a free exhibition, celebrating the meeting of two of the world’s most creative artists who expressed their deep and powerful love for one another through their art, music and film. They used their fame and influence to campaign for peace and human rights across the world, transforming not only their own lives, but art, music and activism forever.
Featuring personal objects alongside art, music and film produced by both John and Yoko, the exhibition is drawn from Yoko’s own private collection, some of which has never been displayed.
“I am so happy and grateful that we are having our Double Fantasy – John & Yoko show in Liverpool.
This is where John was born and I know John would be very happy too.
We were a very simple couple just loving each other every day and I just wanted to show the simple truth of us.
In our personal life we were pretty simple people, and we made all sorts of things with love for each other. Everything was made out of love. We found that we were both very strongly interested in world peace. I feel John and I are still working together. I always feel his warmth next to me.” Yoko Ono Lennon
Taking a chronological journey, the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 December 1980.
Through interviews, quotes and lyrics, the story of their personal and creative relationship along with their political activism and peace campaigning, will be told in their own words for the very first time.
From the intimate to the iconic, the exhibition brings together unmissable objects and artworks, including:
- Hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including ‘In My Life’, ‘Give Peace a Chance’, ‘Happy Christmas War is Over’ and ‘Woman’.
- ‘Grapefruit’ – Yoko’s artist book, which she gave to John as a gift in 1966. Published in 1964, the book represents a seminal piece of conceptual art and was a direct influence on the lyrics and ideas behind ‘Imagine’.
- Original artwork by both, including Yoko’s ‘Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting’, ‘Painting to Hammer a Nail’ and ‘Apple’ as well as ‘The Daily Howl’, a hand-made book by John from his childhood and numerous examples of his distinctive line drawings. The exhibition also features conceptual work the couple produced together, such as ‘War is Over’, Plastic Ono Band’ and elements of their first collaboration ‘Acorn Peace’.
- Many personal items, such as John’s wire-rimmed glasses, Yoko’s large Porsche sunglasses, iconic items of clothing, such as John’s New York City t-shirt, and items from their wedding outfits.
- An extremely rare Sardonyx guitar used by John on the album ‘Double Fantasy’, and the acoustic Gibson guitar, illustrated on by John, from their 1969 bed-in.
- John’s hard-won Green Card.
- Items from the the couple’s famous 1969 Bed-Ins in Amsterdam and Montreal.
- A rolling programme of the films that John and Yoko created, and music videos made under Yoko’s supervision. A music room, overlooking the Mersey with the couple’s albums played for visitors will feature album cover art.
- A recreation of the ‘Imagine’ mosaic circle in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York. An intimate and contemplative space, it will also reflect on the global impact of John’s death.
Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is a major part of Liverpool’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as European Capital of Culture.
This exhibition has been made possible with the kind permission of Yoko Ono Lennon.
Image: Photo by Keith McMillan © Yoko Ono