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'Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies' by Nell Beram & Carolyn Borris-Kimsky

By Daniel S Levine,
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Yoko Ono celebrated her 80th birthday in February, but she has never slowed down. In fact, some could say that she has become more active lately, mostly thanks to social media. Just last week, she was in the headlines for her daring anti-gun tweet that included the image of John Lennon's bloodied glasses from Season of Glass. Ono certainly has proven over the years that she has a great understanding of the media, which is one of the many talents she's learned over the decades.

Ono's life is chronicled in Yoko Ono: Collector of Skies, co-authored by Nell Beran and Carolyn Borris-Kimsky. This isn't just Ono's perspective on Beatles events or her life with Lennon, but a full biography on the artist. It covers her life from her struggles as a youth in Japan to her rise as an avant-garde artist. The authors take us today, covering her most recent triumph, the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland.

The bulk of Collector of Skies gives the reader a clear path to Ono's early successes, from Grapefruit – her first published work – to her daring performance artworks like Cut Piece. It's amazing to read about her struggles. Even with wealthy parents, Ono shunned privilege, choosing the harder path at every turn and having a more remarkable life for it. For me, the most interesting aspects of her story are these early moments, since even as a Beatles fan, we rarely hear about them. Ono was a star in the avant-garde community even before meeting Lennon.

After she met Lennon, her life took another turn, but she still stuck to her principles. The reader is put in her place as we go through many of the stories we've heard before. But it is key to learning her part in mythical scenes in Lennon's life, such as the Bed-Ins for Peace or the 'Lost Weekend' in the mid-'70s. His death took a toll on her, but again this was another moment for her to show her strength and continue to grow as an artist.

At just 180 pages and filled with beautiful photos, Collector Of Skies is a breezy, quick read. It's a must-have for anyone interested in her wonderful life and career.

 
 

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