Before there were bananas duct-taped to walls … before Banksy started shredding his artwork after auctioning it off … there was Yoko Ono. ⁠

In 1966, Ono put on a show at a London gallery titled Unfinished Paintings and Objects By Yoko Ono. Included in the show was a piece titled “Apple”, which consisted of a green apple placed on top of an acrylic glass pedestal. Yes, that was it.

Image of Yoko Ono's green apple on a glass display

(Source: John Wisniewski)

The price? £200 ( the 2022 equivalent of £3,297 or $4,289).

⁠The story goes that a certain musician named John Lennon showed up at the exhibit (having never met Ono before), and was highly amused at this particular piece. Lennon apparently picked the apple up and took a bite out of it, before placing it back on its pedestal.

Reading about Ono’s work got us thinking about what makes something art … ⁠

 ?  Must art be “made” or “manipulated” in some way by someone … or does simply displaying an object qualify as art?⁠

 ?  The intent of Ono's piece was to call the audience’s attention to the passage of time (she wanted the audience to watch the apple decay in juxtaposition the pedestal, which remained as it was). But the piece, as you can imagine, invoked strong reactions in people – from amusement to admiration to anger. So is the emotional response that the piece evoked what makes it art?⁠

 ?  Generally speaking: Who should get to decide what is considered art? The artist? The public? Art critics?⁠



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