By the mid-1960s Yoko Ono was an established figure in the underground art scene; she had begun performing musical pieces, presented events with a loosely affiliated group of artists who worked under the name Fluxus, published a book of instructional poems entitled Grapefruit (e.g. “Hammer a nail in the center of a piece of glass. Send a fragment to an arbitrary address.”), and was making films.
ABOUT BED PEACE 1969 was the year that John & Yoko intensified their long running campaign for World Peace. They approached the task with the same entrepreneurial expertise as an advertising agency selling a brand of soap powder to the masses. John & Yoko’s product however was PEACE, not soft soap, and they were determined to use any slogan, event and gimmick in order to persuade the World to buy it. BED PEACE (directed by Yoko & John and filmed by Nic Knowland) is a document of the Montreal events from 26-31 May 1969, and features John & Yoko in conversation with, amongst others, The World Press, satirist Al Capp, activist Dick Gregory, comedian Tommy Smothers, protesters at Berkeley’s People’s Park, Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg, quiltmaker Christine Kemp, psychologists Timothy Leary & Rosemary Leary, CFOX DJs Charles P. Rodney Chandler & Roger Scott, producer André Perry, journalist Ritchie York, DJ & Promoter Murray The K, filmmaker Jonas Mekas, publicist Derek Taylor & personal assistant Anthony Fawcett. Featured songs are Plastic Ono Band’s GIVE PEACE A CHANCE & INSTANT KARMA, Yoko’s REMEMBER LOVE & WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND & John’s acoustic version of BECAUSE. “As we said before: WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It)” – yoko
“In these first performances by Ono, the artist sat kneeling on the concert hall stage, wearing her best suit of clothing, with a pair of scissors placed on the floor in front of her. Members of the audience were invited to approach the stage, one at a time, and cut a bit of her clothes off – which they were allowed to keep. The score for Cut Piece appears, along with those for several other works, in a document from January 1966 called Strip Tease Show.”
Glass Hammer, 1967