Yoko Ono honoured with prestigious Edward MacDowell medal for lifetime achievement in arts

Ono also made headlines recently for allegedly getting The Beatles’ John Lennon addicted to heroin.

Pop Culture & Art April 24, 2024
Yoko Ono introduces a special screening of 'GasLand' as part of the BFI Screen Epiphanies series at BFI Southbank on June 22, 2013 in London (Courtesy: Getty Images)

Yoko Ono has been awarded the 2024 Edward MacDowell Medal, a lifetime achievement honour presented by the esteemed MacDowell artist residency program.

The award acknowledges artists who have made significant contributions to American culture. Ono joins a prestigious list of past recipients including Toni Morrison, Leonard Bernstein, and David Lynch.

From her early involvement with the Fluxus movement to her world-renowned music and visual art, Ono’s work has been recognized for being distinct.

In a statement reported by Rolling Stone on April 22, MacDowell board chair Nell Painter said, “There has never been anyone like her; there has never been work like hers.”

She continued, "Over some seven decades, she has rewarded eyes, provoked thought, inspired feminists, and defended migrants through works of a wide-ranging imagination. Enduringly fresh and pertinent, her uniquely powerful oeuvre speaks to our own times, so sorely needful of her leitmotif: Peace.”

Ono’s son, Sean Ono Lennon – who recently nabbed an Oscar for an animated film based on his parents – also commented on his mother’s achievement.

“It makes me very proud to see her art appreciated and celebrated in this way,” he declared in a statement reported by Rolling Stone.

Her artistic journey, recently explored in a major retrospective at Tate Modern, spans seven decades and encompasses a remarkable range of mediums and forms. Ono is also a Grammy-winning musician known for her collaborations with John Lennon, and the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the 53rd Venice Biennale.

Recently, Ono also made controversial headlines based on a recent historical account of The Beatles by Peter Brown, titled "All You Need Is Love."

John Lennon and his new bride Yoko Ono holding their marriage certificate after their marriage in Gibraltar. 20 March 1969
Ono and Lennon pictured with their marriage certificate in 1969 (Courtesy: Getty Images)

The book, based on interviews with surviving band members in the early 1980s, includes an excerpt where Ono reportedly admits to introducing Lennon to heroin.

However, Ono has refuted claims that she directly influenced his addiction, stating that Lennon "wouldn't take anything unless he wanted to do it."

The book also details Ono's own brief experimentation with heroin in Paris, which she described as a "beautiful feeling." According to the excerpt, Ono believes Lennon's inquiries about her experience were an indication of his own desire to try the drug.


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