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    Yoko Ono exhibit leaves legacy on Stony Brook campus

    If you are not a lover of art, you might have a change of heart after entering the Yoko Ono exhibit in the Staller Center.  You will notice that the black and white photos posted on the walls set the tone as the bright fluorescent lights reflected off the frames that create eerie feeling in the atmosphere. “She inspires me with the whole idea of the community thing. There’s so many people that she doesn’t know yet she shows a lot of care,” said Jenny Tseng, 19.

    Conceptual artist, Ono, otherwise known as the wife of John Lennon, has been creating art for years, including, Imagine Peace: Featuring John and Yoko’s Year of Peace. Ono did not fail in portraying the aspects of this piece of work for over more than forty years. And now the exhibit is being displayed through Oct. 15 at Stony Brook University‘s Staller Center for the Arts, featuring an oversized, all-white chess set, videos, photographs, lithographs, posters, advertisements and a Japanese maple “Wish tree.”

    Peace activist, Yoko Ono is seen as one of today’s most influential artists in art, film, music and theater media. A list of the avant-garde icon’s achievements includes the reissue of her music catalog on the Rykodisc specialty label, her collaborative work with John Lennon, 16 films made between 1964 and 1972, as well as the premiere of her off-Broadplay show, and Hiroshima.

    Ono, an advocate for gay rights, topped the U.S. dance chart in 2004 with a song supporting gay marraige titled, Every Man Has A Man Who Loves Him, which is a new version of her song Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him, released about 25 years ago. “This is a victory not just for me but for all Americans who are against the administration’s decision to ban gay marraige,” said Ono.

    Yoko Ono Imagine Peace: Featuring John and Yoko’s Year of Peace was curated by Dr. Kevin Concannon and John Noga, first presented in 2007 at the Emily Davis Gallery at the Myers School of Art/The University of Akron.

    Gallery director and curator, Rhonda Cooper, works on bringing exhibits to Stony Brook University each year. It wasn’t until two years ago that Professor Nagasawa, who is a sculpture professor in the art department at Stony Brook, told Cooper about the exhibition and provided her with contact information, said Cooper. She then contacted Concannon and arranged to present the exhibition at Stony Brook.

    Director of the Staller Center, Alan Inkles, also helped Cooper bring the exhibit to the campus. They came to realize that it would be great for students, faculty and staff and went on to take the necessary steps needed to make this happen. It took about a year and a half to bring the exhibit to Stony Brook.

    Some of the major works are composed of the Imagine Peace Maps, where gallery visitors are welcomed to place the stamp “Imagine Peace” on the country of their choice. You can attach your wish for peace on the Wish Tree and that wish will be sent to the Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland, where it will shine on eternally. “Peace has always been discussed,” Inkles said. “I thought it would be great to have it in the midst of 9/11.” Visitors were also offered “Imagine Peace” buttons and Onochord flashlights to beam the message “I Love You” as gifts.

    It started off with a few works from John and Yoko that gradually expanded as time went by. Now, Ono has a masterpiece on her hands of their collaborations that strategically influenced advertising in many ways that got their views across to many people around the world. This project could represent something John Lennon once said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

    The message that this duo had spread for years is peace and unity. Two young women happened to wander into the exhibit. Berta Shamuilova, 18, claimed that it was very simple and peaceful. “It’s not revolutionary, but very inspiring in peaceful ways,” said Rose Mathews, 17.

    John and Yoko’s son, Sean Lennon is scheduled to perform on the closing night of the Art Gallery exhibit with the first concert of the Staller Center 2011-2012 season: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger—comprised of the duo Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, on Staller’s Recital Hall on Oct. 15 at 8 p.m.  Inkles expressed his hopes of Ono making it to see the concert.

    Lennon and Ono’s works speaks for itself.

    “The University Art Gallery is a perfect setting for this exhibition. We’ve had an enormous number of visitors of all ages from both on- and off-campus. We’re very pleased to present Yoko Ono’s artwork and her continuing message that peace is a dream that together we can make a reality” said Cooper.

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