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Yoko Ono Accused of Selling John Lennon Artworks That Have Been Altered

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The place for Beatles fans and art lovers this past weekend was the SoHo studio rented out by Yoko Ono to auction off some of John Lennon's artwork she had been holding onto. However, a Florida-based artist is claiming that the pieces for sale are actually fake, or rather "essentially cut-and-paste mashups of Lennon themes rather than Lennon prints."

Gary Arsenau, an "artist, creator of original lithographs, scholar, and author" claims that he has looked over the pieces carefully and noticed the discrepancies almost immediately. He explained to ArtInfo:

"The so-called 'Artwork of John Lennon' being offered for sale in SoHo this weekend was actually posthumously forged in color and new compositions, each part of bogus editions with counterfeit John Lennon chop mark/signatures."

To support his claims, he pointed out that this is not the first time Yoko has been accused of altering Lennon's. However, in the case of this gallery, "Gimme Some Truth: The Artwork of John Lennon," four works are being questioned for their authenticity. At this point, all the organizers will admit is that Yoko added some color to several drawings.

Even that is too much! People want to look at Lennon's art - not Lennon's art by way of Yoko Ono!

See, this is just what Paul was worried about!

[Image via WENN.]

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18 comments to “Yoko Ono Accused of Selling John Lennon Artworks That Have Been Altered”



  1. 1

    What a fucking WHORE that Yoko Ono is !!! Someone should drag their stiletto heel across her fucking forehead just to add some colour to her concubine fucking face, that fucking Beatles / John Lennon whore. Why does she need all that fucking money for, that fucking Jap non-compostable whore where she needs to invent and embellish shit to put on the market, that fucking JAP WHORE !?!?



  2. 2

    Why is YoYo on the Red Carpet? She's never done a thing in her life….Screaming & Moaning is not an accomplishment…



  3. 3

    The only thing she has in common with The Beatles is SHE LOOKS LIKE AN ACTUAL BEETLE!

  4. 7tizz says – reply to this


    4

    Wow…just wow. What a shameful thing to do to the man's memory - regardless of who the deceased was. If there is a hell…she will be burning in it.



  5. 5

    sad.



  6. 6

    READ YOUR POST AFTER THIS THAT YOU LET NO COMMENTS… LEARN TO SPELL AND GRAMMAR CORRECTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This ghost writer is EVEN WORSE than you… if that's possible … but obviously it is!!!! PEREZ, DO YOU EVEN CARE ABOUT THIS????????????????????????????????????????????



  7. 7

    a) The story is hardly surprising; b) your grammar and editing is getting worse.



  8. 8

    Re: cap chick – That should be "Learn to spell and USE grammar correctly". If you're going to reprimand someone one their spelling and grammar, perhaps you should use it as well. Just a thought.



  9. 9

    Oh no! That's a no-no, Ono, you ho!



  10. 10

    Seriously, it's not as if she needs the money…Judging from her past behavior and "crack-pot philosophy, she would most likely justify the forgeries by claiming she was channeling John or some such bullshit. She should go to jail. Art forgery is a crime.

  11. @v@ says – reply to this


    11

    Don't let her near the Sistine Chapel. She might just touch up Michelangelo's work.
    Artwork isn't original unless it's original. The showing could have more honestly been called a 'Reinterpretation of the Artwork of John Lennon', and then people wouldn't have felt tricked; but did someone perhaps instead think they'd get more people there this way?



  12. 12

    Re: your recent article about the John Lennon Art shows put together by Yoko Ono and Legacy Fine Arts, it seems that as a by-product of the cyberspace age, anyone with an axe to grind or who's looking to make a name for himself by drawing undue attention to his rantings can put together a blog and have it accepted as gospel (the new millennium equivalent of the old "everybody's a critic" lament). Frankly, the named protagonist (Mr. Arseneau), who's been seeking an audience for years, and those he has baited into chiming into his blog, have all got to be kidding.

    I've been going to the Lennon art shows for YEARS and aside from the (out of my price reach) original signed lithographs (yes, he created only ONE original drawing of each, but signed MANY lithographs of them), everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING about the items for sale and on display was disclosed, and not sold as anything more than what they were … prints (or in some cases, "lithographs" or "proofs"). In my decade-plus dealings with them, I've found the people at Legacy Fine Arts to be knowledgeable, friendly and have integrity beyond reproach.



  13. 13

    So, by way of example - I got a silkscreened reproduction of the lyrics to "Real Love". Was it hawked as an "original"? NEVER. Did I think in my wildest dreams that John's pen went to that sheet of paper? NOT FOR ONE MINUTE. Did he draw the same exact self-portrait doodle on every lyric sheet he ever wrote ? NOT A CHANCE. Is it of high quality and beautifully framed and does it look great as a centerpiece in my den - YOU BET. The same goes for my "Borrowed Time" sketch (the one used for the posthumous "Wonsoponatime" album) and other pieces I've bought.

    John's art is really whimsical and I enjoy it very much. The message here - consumers must educate and culture themselves. Learn about the art, the artist, and YES, the piece you are buying. I do not feel for one second I was ever mislead and am 1000% happy I acquired the pieces I did, including one of the "colorized" children's drawings. Of course, Mr. Arseneau cites those as "forgeries", as another artist worked on them after John died, and would have readers believe he has discovered the smoking gun - the NAME of the artist who perpetrated the act ! I never even applied to detective school, and I knew that Al Naclerio was the artist in question - he is, after all, credited as such in the book that collects the drawings.



  14. 14

    As for Mr. Arseneau, I replied to this "scholarly" blog, and his mantra of "the dead don't create art", by posing the challenge of whether the surviving Beatles themselves shouldn't have "colorized" John's demos to make the "new" songs "Real Love" and "Free As A Bird". After all, as a form of "art", the dead don't make music, do they ? Whatever one may think of those two records - both of which I happen to LOVE - the principle is the same as what Mr. Arseneau is crying foul over as a big "fraud". My guess is this same guy, who's trying to incite the masses into a class action suit over the (let's call it) "art" hasn't quite gotten to the point of suing Apple, Capitol Records, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr or the George Harrison estate for selling us supposedly "new" Beatles recordings. After all, the dead don't make music, do they ? Maybe Apple and their lawyers don't take as kindly to a poke in the eye as the art dealers do.



  15. 15

    Given Mr. Arseneu's penchant for hammering home time lines ("John died in 1980; these were colorized years later"; etc.) in defense of his "fraud" allegations, I assured him that when I bought my CD's of "Real Love" and "Free As A Bird" (a) I did not think they were the originals (I'm pretty sure they sold a few million COPIES of each of them); (b) I was well aware John had been deceased for over a decade, and (c) outside people (you know, like Jeff Lynne) were brought in to lend their talents to help bring these projects to fruition.

    On his website, Mr. Arseneau cites a 2008 article in which he besmirches Yoko and the Legacy team, stating ""The bottom line is … they want the public to see and buy work that John Lennon himself has never seen"; by that standard, one would have to deduce that "Real Love" and "Free As A Bird" should be discounted (certainly John never heard those finished products).



  16. 16

    And while on the subject of Mr. Arseneau's website, one look at his "bio", covering his five years of study at community colleges (yet with no mention of any degrees earned), he notes "when I research and write about contentious issues of authenticity in the art world, I use independent documented definitions I didn`t define", making a point to use a select dictionary definition of scholar ("a learned or eurdite [sic] person, esp. one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject."). While obviously not figuring anyone would challenge a scholars' spelling, I would have to say he's taken a very liberal interpretation of the term; a look through my own desk dictionary defines "scholar" as "a person who has done advanced study in a special field". Not sure five years at community college, with no mention of a degree, gets me there.



  17. 17

    It seems Mr. Arseneau would have been at least somewhat appeased if they called the exhibit the "reproductions and lithographs of lyrics and drawings done by John Lennon when he was alive" as opposed to "the art of …" And while he definitely doesn't come across as a fan of Yoko's (I get it, believe me), like it or not, SHE (not Mr. Arseneau) gets to decide how John's legacy (no pun intended) is handled and marketed.

    One look at any Beatles Sotheby's auction would show REAL handwritten Beatles lyrics routinely fetching well into the six-figure range. Anyone who thinks I was defrauded into paying $500 for my "Real Love" lyric print (which by the way, came in what would probably be a couple hundred dollar framing job) is simply ill informed and doesn't give folks credit for being even half-educated consumers. People are a lot smarter than Mr. Arseneau appears to give them credit for. Yeah, I've seen the REAL handwritten lyrics and know they are - really - priceless. As long as people are in a position to make an informed decision, as I was, and are happy with their purchase, who's to say what Yoko "should" be doing ? Hint: Not Mr. Arseneau, or you, or me.



  18. 18

    In my last (by that, I don't mean "most recent", I mean "final") post to Mr. Arseneau (he and his crusade are simply not worth the time or
    effort) , I acknowledged that "caveat emptor" is ALWAYS good advice, and let him know that I'd be going to the show the following week NYC, and PROMISED to let him know IMMEDIATELY if any of the Legacy staff try to pawn the prints off as "originals", or anything else but what they are. I hope he's not holding his breath waiting for a follow up, because, as always, the folks at Legacy Fine Arts treated me with respect for my consumerism and intelligence. It's more than most "blog scholars" are willing to concede, it seems.