Artist Resources

Daily Inspiration: Yoko Ono on Leaving Work Unfinished

"I always believed that my work should be unfinished in the sense that I encourage people to add their creativity to it, either conceptually or physically. Back in the 1960s, I was calling for 'Unfinished Music,' number one, and number two, with my artwork - I was taking unfinished work into the gallery. And that's how I was looking at it."

I change my mind daily about Yoko Ono’s sincerity, sometimes I get the impression she is messing with all of us (in a recent Australian women’s magazine interview she proclaimed Van Gogh was the first piece of art that “touched” her) or she is either deeply sensitive, to a point that is confronting. The jury is still out.

In a similar vein to da Vinci’s declaration, “art is never finished, it is abandoned,” Yoko Ono encourages us to leave our work in some way unfinished. It’s an interesting quote by the Japanese born artist, who suggests leaving work conceptually incomplete is a good way to work. In one of her better known pieces “Telephone In Amaze,” she has been leaving a landline telephone in gallery spaces around the world and periodically calling the phone to see who happens to answer. She’s leaving herself open to the chance that nobody will answer the phone at all, which is a pretty big conceptual leap to take and arguably leaves the artwork unfinished forever.

"Constellations" by cocainedaisies