Yoko Ono will make your coffee sad
By Sean O'Neal
May 7, 2015
The coffee cup is the canvas into which we pour our very soul, and our very coffee. It is the means by which the world discerns our feelings about mornings and Mondays, our allegiances to sports teams and Ziggy, and the vast, colorful history of conferences we attended. But all too rarely is the coffee cup used to express the great human tragedy, except for Ziggy. So at last, Yoko Ono has come forward to fill this neglected artistic niche, and fill your coffee mug with sadness. You can also put tea in it.
Ono has collaborated with the Italian coffee company Illy on a collection called “Yoko Ono: Mended Cups,” to be released in conjunction with her upcoming show at the Museum of Modern Art. You (probably) won’t be able to drink out of those pieces, but you can from these cups inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where cracked pottery is repaired with lacquer mixed with gold. The cups are also inspired by the depressed grandmother’s art of bumming you out, with each one bearing a message reminding of you some tragic historical event while you eat breakfast.
Those messages are written in Ono’s handwriting on accompanying saucers, letting you know, for example, “This cup was broken in My Lai on March 16th, 1968,” during the My Lai Massacre. Other grim reminders of man’s capacity for inflicting pain that you can sip from include cups commemorating the Nanking Massacre, the Dresden bombing, and Hiroshima. All together they form a rich, beverage-holding tapestry that captures the devastation of war, sort of like the Guernica of coffee cups—particularly the coffee cup that mentions Guernica. It’s also simply rich, with a price tag of $250 for the set.
Still, Ono also allows for peace with a single, unblemished cup promising, “This cup will never be broken as it is under your protection.” This cup is available separately, for the price of $40. That way, when you inevitably drop it in the dishwasher, you will experience a small taste of what Hiroshima felt like.
Notably, among the six world-shaking tragedies Ono chose to highlight is December 8, 1980, the date John Lennon was assassinated. That cup is now Ono’s saddest artwork honoring her late husband since she made him a hoodie with a butt on it. But you couldn’t drink out of that.
Yoko Ono designs coffee cup line inspired by tragedies
May. 7, 2015
This image released by Illy North America shows a collection of espresso cups and saucers called, Yoko Ono: Mended Cups - illy Art Collection, featuring the dates and places of six tragic events written in Ono's handwriting. The collection is inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese technique of repairing cracked pottery with brushstrokes of gold. The line for illy Art Collection is being released alongside Ono’s upcoming show at the Museum of Modern Art. (Lou Manna/Illy North America via AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yoko Ono is expressing herself through espresso cups.
The artist and widow of John Lennon has designed a collection of cups and saucers featuring the dates and places of six tragic events written in Ono's handwriting, such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 and the day Lennon was shot and killed in 1980. A seventh cup appears untouched to represent hope.
The collection is titled "Yoko Ono: Mended Cups - illy Art Collection" and is inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese technique of repairing cracked pottery with brushstrokes of gold.
The cup line is being released alongside Ono's upcoming show at the Museum of Modern Art.
Other artists who have previously designed cups and saucers for illy include Jeff Koons, Pedro Almodovar, Robert Rauschenberg, Julian Schnabel and David Byrne.