A loud bravo to Yoko Ono! The artist made a series of cups for the coffee company, illy as part of their “illy Art Collection.” On the whole, the program has been a charming amusement, more about graphics than ceramics and always with the same chubby espresso cup design. It’s fun but rarely biting.
This time Ono has hit the ball out of the park and created a true work of conceptual art for the Illy program, dealing with ceramics itself through the notion of it breaking. She ties each act of destruction to a moment of pain in history via six cups. She then “mended” these cups in the Japanese style with gold. The seventh cup is unbroken and is put in our change for safety and protection.
Ono is often not given her due as an artist because of her relationship with John Lennon (and is sometimes given too much prominence for the same reason, a double edged sword) but she is one of the top conceptualists working today and what she did with this set of cups, a small but brilliant moment, confirms her status setting the bar for the illy artists who follow her. Buy them now while they last (from MOMA gift shop, $250 for the set and $40 for a single cup).
From the New York Times:
“Yoko Ono is the latest artist whose designs will grace a set of espresso cups for illy, the Italian coffee company. Timed to the debut of “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971,” which opens at the Museum of Modern Art on May 17, they were inspired by Kintsugi, a Japanese method of fixing broken pottery using powdered metals (gold, silver, platinum, bronze or aluminum) mixed with water and lacquer. Ono’s designs have the look of Kintsugi, with fine gold lines used to mimic a shattering effect, and each saucer features a sentence marking a shattering event in her life, with the name of the event and the date. They include the My Lai Massacre (March 16, 1968), the bombing of Dresden during World War II (Feb. 13, 1945) and John Lennon’s death in New York (Dec. 8, 1980).”
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile
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