Yoko ONO by Kishin SHINOYAMA

The artist-musician Yoko Ono (photo by Kishin Shinoyama, courtesy Manimal Records)

“A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat”: That’s the cocktail a cartoon character based on Yoko Ono orders at Moe’s Tavern in the 1993 episode of The Simpsons, “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet.” This perfect parody of conceptual art pretension has now been served up in real life. A plum floating in a man’s hat is one of the works in Yoko Ono: One More Story …, an exhibition at the Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland.

The work, by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, fits the show’s vague brief as well as anything would. The 83-year-old Ono asked artists to “supply a vessel for the water… to heal [people’s] minds”:

My dear fellow artists, I want to ask you to supply a vessel for the water to give to specific people, either to heal their minds (such as in the case of warlords), or appreciate their courage in speaking out (such as in the case of grassroots activists). It can also be given to a specific person, people, or the land in desperate need for water (love). You and I will supply the water. Each work will be exhibited in the museum, with the dedication attached to it.

Lets have fun in doing this together.

My love and respect to you.


It’s unclear whether Ono herself is aware that Kjartansson’s plum in a man’s hat is inspired by a Simpsons gag. Some sources suggest Kjartansson is trolling an oblivious Ono, while others assume she’s in on the joke. Either way, perhaps it really will heal warlords’ minds.

YouTube video

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering arts and culture. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Baffler, The Village Voice, and elsewhere.