Last year, Paul McCartney absolved Yoko Ono of her role in breaking up The Beatles and last week, the Japanese-American artist and iconoclast, told the the Times just how thankful she was.
“I’m starting to understand something interesting,” she said. “If all those people hadn’t bashed me, what would I be doing now? What I am now was made by all those terrible incidents. I thought it was terrible all those years, but when I think about it now, I realise it was a blessing.”
While working on a feature about a retrospective of Ono’s work, due to open at the MCA next month, it struck me that this bashing has less to do with her status as an exotic temptress who dared to split up the greatest band alive – or a public contempt for performance art – and everything to do with the fact that messing with the Beatles is by extension, messing with the bedrock of white masculinity. I’m willing to bet that if Ono’s (sometimes unpalatable) sonic experiments emanated from someone like Thurston Moore, they would be hailed as avant-garde genius, rather than the warblings of an artist that history is not quite ready to hear.