Yoko Ono Interactive Artwork Stolen

Marissa sent in the following article, asking an important question about the limits of “interactive” or “participatory” artwork:
“This is a topic I’ve been following since it broke, I found it slightly humorous given the nature of the exhibition and also, admittedly, the perpetrator currently wanted.
An elderly woman is wanted in connection to a stolen work of art, part of Ono’s “Riverbed” piece at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, the installation itself is interactive and encourages viewers to contemplate the work within the space as well as larger understandings of being. However, it seems as though this particular patron wanted a more intimate understanding of the work, as she allegedly walked away with a part of the installation. The stolen work in question is a rock that Ono inscribed with the words “love yourself,” which is valued at $17,500. Adding to the humor of the situation, Ono herself is said to describe the piece as “a repository of hopes and dreams for individuals and for the world.”
What could this possibly mean in the face of art theft? Does the interactive quality of her work invite the possibility of these types of actions? Are actions like these defiant, reactive, or simply pedestrian? “

2 thoughts on “Yoko Ono Interactive Artwork Stolen

  1. Micaela Arena says:

    My feelings on this are complicated. On one hand, I think that taking the stone is the apotheosis of interactive art, and am greatly amused that the person remains at large. On the other hand, I think that once the woman took the stone, the art piece as a whole could no longer be as interactive, as she robbed others of the chance to interact with it in the same way she did. I also find it interesting that Ono described it as: “a repository of hopes and dreams for individuals and for the world.” It follows then that the woman took hopes and dreams not only from other individuals but from the world as well. But I also understand the impulse, and if I could get away with it, I know I would do the same thing myself.

  2. Liana says:

    I believe the interactive nature of the exhibit by Ono makes it easier for people to take from it, and also makes the thought more present in a viewer’s mind. Usually when you go to view an exhibit you know not to touch the works, or you are told specifically not to touch them. An interactive exhibit like this one is obviously different, and could put the thought in some viewer’s minds that if they can touch the work, it would be easy to steal it. I see this as a pedestrian action, but it depends on the intention of the viewer as well. Yoko Ono has been a controversial figure throughout all of her time in the public eye, so it is probable that this woman’s we in defiance, or in admiration, of the artist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *