Yoko Ono is hanging banners on the Met Museum to send messages of hope

The artist wants to inspire a feeling of unity for New Yorkers

New artworks from Yoko Ono are being displayed across the front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a message of hope to the people of New York.

When visitors return to the museum next weekend after months of closure due to the pandemic, they will be welcomed by two 24-by-26-foot banners, one that reads “DREAM” and another that reads “TOGETHER” – a message from Ono addressing the longing for connectivity and closeness felt by the people of the city during lockdown.

“This display is a signal of the life returning to New York City and the Met”, says Met president Daniel Weiss, “both of which thrive on community and a sense of shared optimism for the strength of the human spirit and the power of art to bring comfort, inspire resilience, and help us understand our turbulent times.”

Ono’s banners, titled DREAM TOGETHER (2020), hang across the space that usually advertises current exhibitions and joins four female sculptures from artist Wangechi Mutu, which stand guard between the museum’s Grecian-style pillars, as part of the Met’s initiative to bring contemporary artworks beyond the galleries and into public space. 

Met director Max Hollein says Ono is the perfect artist to serve as a beacon to bring people back to the museum because she is such a citizen of the world. “On the one hand, she is very connected to New York, but also someone who is an immigrant, who has traveled the world and has a global perspective, and brings that to her work.” The banners, he says, will send a message to everyone who sees them of “aspiration, resilience, and hope”. 

Closed since March, the Met will finally re-open again on August 29 following Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement last week that museums and other cultural buildings in New York City will be allowed to return, albeit at a 25 per cent max-occupancy capacity. 

Yoko Ono’s DREAM TOGETHER (2020) will be on view at the Met’s Fifth Avenue facade from August 20 to September 13, 2020. For anyone not in New York, maybe now is the time to revisit Ono’s 1964 book, Grapefruit – a welcome remedy during a crisis. “I think Grapefruit is very much a mischievous book for now,” the artist said.