After 40 years of neglect from critics and abuse from Beatles fans, Yoko Ono, over the past decade, has risen to an almost untouchable position in the art world. In her 2000 show at New York’s Japan Society, Michael Kimmelman writing for the New York Times called her “a mischievous, wry conceptual artist with a canny sensibility.” In a glowing review of Yoko Ono’s 2014 retrospective at the Guggenheim Bilbao, critic Jonathan Jones called the show “moving and beautiful.” A 2012 story in the Guardian about her retrospective at London’s Serpentine Gallery noted that “deserved recognition” was coming, both in the form of the show, and in the Golden Lion award she received at the Venice Biennale in 2009. The current major Yoko Ono show at MoMA, “One Woman Show, 1960-1971,” is drawing crowds and garnering rave reviews.
Yet for all of her recent popularity, in the realm of auctions, Ono’s status isn’t soaring to the same heights. Her work has never even been featured in a major evening auction and for an artist of her stature, her market here seems practically non-existent.