John Lennon’s Artwork in Santa Fe

- July 20, 2012

"The exhibition was also a testimony to one of the great iconic love affairs of all time"

When I heard there was an exhibition of the art of John Lennon in Santa Fe, I had to go. As an artist I was interested in seeing the work; as a music lover I was intrigued. I must confess, I did not even know John Lennon was a visual artist. I was living in New York at the time of his death. He lived at The Dakota, an architectural wonder of a residence on Central Park West. It is right around the corner from the little studio where I lived. I passed it a thousand times. It is the kind of a building I dreamed of living in. The night Lennon was murdered was a turning point event. You remember what you were wearing and who you were with.

Artists are never boring and always controversial. John Lennon attended the Liverpool College of Art. He met his first wife Cynthia at the College. Acceptance to art school for Lennon was not easy, requiring intervention by the headmaster. An artist always has many disciplines. We are persons of parts. Interested and curious in the ways of the world. John Lennon was an artist in all of his parts.

The drawings in the exhibition were remarkable. Working exclusively in black pen and ink, Lennon created art that  conveyed a person or an idea in its simplest form with the least amount of lines. I saw a Matisse-like quality to his simple clean linear approach. To look unabashedly at one's self and transform retrospection into visual art. Self portraits exposing ideas of intimate self examination and situations touching his life. A life lived in the context of public opinion.

The exhibition was also a testimony to one of the great iconic love affairs of all time.

A human collaboration that becomes a synonyms for love. John Lennon and Yoko Ono had one of those defining human relationships. Two people who came together and created love with every element to make their lives into one of the great love stories of all time. Passion of two beautiful talented people, controversy surrounding the very existence of their love, implies a tragic poignant ending. The level of passion of their world is nearly impossible to find, but looking for it and living for it is everything.

Love to define the time is present in every generation. Taylor and Burton, Romeo and Juliet, Paris and Helena, Voltaire and Emilie. Lovers who immortalized their passion in art, literature and film. Lennon and Yoko Ono defined the spirit and energy of the '60s. A generation daring to question the turmoil in the world surrounding it. Demanding society examine itʼs ideals and “give peace a chance,” Lennon presented exhibitions of works considered pornographic in his time and were banned in London and ordered burned in the U.S. Hie created drawings in a unique and recognizable style of simplicity and elegance telling a very intimate story of his life and love for a remarkable woman.