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Yoko Ono Wish Tree, Hirshhorn Museum
via Instagram/@yokoono, @hirshhorn

Yoko Ono’s ‘Wish Tree’ heads online to share virtual messages of hope

J Balvin, Eileen Myles, and more have contributed to the socially-distanced version of the artist’s 2007 artwork

Since Yoko Ono gifted her Wish Tree for Washington, DC to the city’s Hirshhorn Museum in 2007, visitors have written and tied over 100,000 wishes to the dogwood’s branches. This year, however, the interactive installation is moving online, allowing visitors to keep expressing their hopes for the future despite ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

“Still, we can come together to share our hopes and dreams,” writes the gallery in an announcement posted to Instagram, adding that the artist gave her permission for the artwork’s social media debut.

Typically, the Washington edition of Ono’s Wish Tree — part of a broader project with more than a million participants worldwide — “blooms” with thousands of paper tags over the course of the summer, which are “harvested” by staff and sent to Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland. In colder months, visitors are encouraged to whisper their wishes to its branches.

Though Hirshhorn Museum’s sculpture garden is currently open, Wish Tree will not be available for in-person wish-writing in 2021. Instead, the museum says, those wanting to take part can write their wish on a piece of paper, take a photo, and share it to Instagram with the hashtag #WishTreeDC, tagging @hirshhorn. At the end of summer, the wishes will be collected and archived as usual.

Alongside those that have already shared their wishes via the virtual Wish Tree project are the reggaeton star J Balvin and poet Eileen Myles, alongside artists including Judith Bernstein, Tomás Saraceno, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Amid New York City’s lockdowns last year, Yoko Ono also hung hopeful banners on the Met Museum, in a project titled DREAM TOGETHER (2020), sharing a message of comfort and solidarity for the city’s inhabitants.

View some of the Hirshhorn Museum’s virtual Wish Tree messages below.