May 24th, 2024

Yoko Ono to receive Edward MacDowell Medal for lifetime achievement

By Hillel Italie, The Associated Press on April 21, 2024.

FILE - Yoko Ono appears before the dedication ceremony for her permanent art installation, a sculpture called SKYLANDING, at Jackson Park, Oct. 17, 2016, in Chicago. One of the country’s leading artist residency programs, MacDowell, has awarded a lifetime achievement prize to Ono. The groundbreaking artist, filmmaker and musician is the 2024 recipient of the Edward MacDowell Medal, an honor previously given to Stephen Sondheim and Toni Morrison among others. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – One of the country’s leading artist residency programs, MacDowell, has awarded a lifetime achievement prize to Yoko Ono. The groundbreaking artist, filmmaker and musician is this year’s recipient of the Edward MacDowell Medal, an honor previously given to Stephen Sondheim and Toni Morrison among others.

“There has never been anyone like her; there has never been work like hers,” MacDowell board chair Nell Painter said in a statement Sunday. “Over some seven decades, she has rewarded eyes, provoked thought, inspired feminists, and defended migrants through works of a wide-ranging imagination. Enduringly fresh and pertinent, her uniquely powerful oeuvre speaks to our own times, so sorely needful of her leitmotif: Peace.”

Ono’s son, Sean Ono Lennon, said in a statement that the medal was “an incredible honor.”

“The history and list of past recipients is truly remarkable. It makes me very proud to see her art appreciated and celebrated in this way,” he said.

Ono, 91, has made few public appearances in recent years and is not expected to attend the July awards ceremony, at the MacDowell campus in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Ono’s music manager, David Newgarden, will accept the award on her behalf.

Ono first became known as part of the avant-garde Fluxus movement of the 1960s, then reached international fame after meeting John Lennon, to whom she was married from 1969 until his death, in 1980. Their many collaborations included the songs “Give Peace a Chance,” “Imagine” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” the basis for “War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko,” this year’s winner of the Oscar for best animated short film.

Over the past 40 years, Ono has had a busy career as a visual and recording artist, her albums including “Season of Glass,” “Starpeace” and “Take Me to the Land of Hell.” She was recently the subject of a career retrospective at London’s Tate Modern.

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