Yoko Ono has never shirked from the utopian potential of art. The octogenarian artist has been a vital force in conceptual art since her very first works in the late 1950s and 60s, although her subsequent trajectory into global celebrity overshadowed the importance and legacy of her work. In the decades that followed, she brought conceptual art to new audiences – an occasionally difficult path for an artist whose carefully considered approach has always prized the ephemeral, transient role of ideas and dreams.
Infinite Universe at Dawn brings together a vast array of archival material spanning Ono's entire career; 1,500 copies will bear her signature too, as limited editions of the tome. Prepared and assembled by the artist together with Genesis Publications, the slip-cased 400-page volume includes lyrics, essays, interviews and statements, backed up with extensive unseen photographs and 45 tipped-in pieces of artwork and reproductions. It's impossible to separate Ono's oeuvre from her public image, although the sheer longevity of her career and quiet dedication and consistency has gone a long way to diluting the casual and insidious misogyny she has faced since her marriage to John Lennon in 1969.
The book is a celebration of Ono's considerable influence on the artistic landscape, presenting a body of work that not only spans a vast array of genres – from music to photography, poetry, installations, publications, activism and sculptures – but also draws a straight line from the 1960s to the modern era, a time of massive social and political upheaval. If nothing else, Ono's work offers an occasionally grubby mirror to society's collective cynicism. At a time when the utopian dreams of the counter-culture have never felt more vital or more distant, Infinite Universe is a refreshingly optimistic salve.