Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December 8, 1980

season of glass
John Lennon's bloodstained glasses, photographed by Yoko Ono



update: a great Lennon quote from Rolling Stone:
"The hardest thing is facing yourself. It's easier to shout 'Revolution' and 'Power to the people' than it is to look at yourself and try to find out what's real inside of you and what isn't."
— from Lennon's final interview with Rolling Stone, after he had spent the past five years out of the music business, at home, parenting his son Sean.

10 Comments:

At 12:19 AM, December 08, 2005, Blogger The Misanthrope said...

That photo is so sad.

 
At 8:53 AM, December 08, 2005, Blogger Mary P. said...

Takes an artist to make a memorial out of a horror. Poignant.

 
At 10:21 AM, December 08, 2005, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Wow. That picture is heavy. I've never seen it before. Does that mean I'm culturally naive?
Thanks for posting it.

 
At 11:31 AM, December 08, 2005, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

• Misanthrope:
I thought about posting a photo from a happier time … maybe I still will. But today, it didn't seem like the best choice.

In addition to the blood stains, which bring home the violence of his death, the photo reminds me that John isn't present with us anymore. Those are his glasses … but he's not wearing them. What a sad occasion.

• Mary P.:
Yoko took some heat for this photo at the time. People objected that it was exploitative (to sell Yoko's album).

Everything Yoko did offended John's fans. And I think there was a failure to understand the way an artist's mind works. (Or maybe just a failure to recognize that Yoko was an artist.)

Yoko processed her grief through art. And I'm glad she did, because it provides a way for me to process my grief, too.

• Sadie Lou:
I'm sure you're not culturally naive just because you haven't seen this photo before. Yoko's art and music were never mainstream.

Yoko used it as the cover of her album, Season of Glass, which was released just a few months after John was murdered.

I used to have a vinyl copy, and I think it's a good album. But then, I "get" Yoko and lots of people don't. There's a previous post on her art here.
Q

 
At 12:19 PM, December 08, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

I love the Photo.

This is one of the simplest but most powerful expressions of grief I have ever seen.

If an artists worth is based on how they express their emotions in their work, well done Yoko.

 
At 12:50 PM, December 08, 2005, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

The glass of water intrigues me. Obviously it's a reference to the old riddle, "Is the glass half full or half empty?"

And that's a salutary reminder. We were all privileged to know John, even those of us who knew him only through his music. In that sense, the glass is half full … despite the fact that he was murdered at age 40.

The thing that amazes me is that Yoko could look at it that way, and depict it as such in this photo, so soon after John's death.
Q

 
At 3:18 PM, December 08, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

Unless the glass is something half complete. I thought the riddle might be too cliche however it was the first thing that came to my mind as well.

 
At 11:07 AM, December 09, 2005, Blogger LoryKC said...

I have never seen this photo either.
Thank you for sharing it.

 
At 11:14 PM, December 11, 2005, Blogger Carolyn said...

What a great photo (graphic in nature, disturbing, but great).

I was only 5 when John Lennon was killed, so I don't possess any of the feelings associated with his death, but I do get a feel for how Ono has always been viewed.

It's always seemed to me that she was resented for drawing Lennon's attention away from the Beatles, ie. breaking them up. Of course Beatles fans would hate her, or at least not respect her.

I think she's probably a very strong, perhaps controlling woman, who's also an artist (all attributes I could imagine Lennon would be attracted to). I feel she's not recognized as an artist because that part of her is overshadowed by her husbands name. This is a wonderful example of an artist capturing something that evokes strong emotions through symbolism.

Anyway, I'm feeling extra chatty...so I'm now rambling (I've been home all weekend with a cold).

 
At 9:52 AM, December 12, 2005, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

• Lory:
I didn't realize that so few people were familiar with this photograph. I chose it because it makes such a good memorial. But I'm glad that I gave it a wider circulation, since it was unknown to all of you.

• Carolyn:
Yoko has gradually emerged from John's shadow in the years since his murder. She will always be controversial, but in recent years critics have been reassessing her work. According to Wikipedia:

In 2001, YES YOKO ONO, a forty-year retrospective of Ono's work received the prestigious International Association of Art Critics USA Award for Best Museum Show Originating in New York City. (This award is considered one of the highest accolades in the museum profession.)

I honestly don't know whether I would like her if I met her in person; she strikes me as difficult and inflexible. But those character traits are also part of why I admire her. She has been so vilified over the years, and she just continued to be true to her own artistic vision, however misunderstood it was. She is a true feminist in that respect: she has adamantly refused to allow others to shape her by their expectations.

Feel free to drop in and ramble anytime!
Q

 

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