John Lennon's bloody clothes on display: to see or not to see?


The New York City Annex of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame has collaborated with Yoko Ono to open an exhibit featuring the effects of the late, great John Lennon, including his piano, the “New York City” t-shirt he made famous… and a paper bag containing the bloody clothes from the night he was shot to death. “It was hard to include,” Ono told the AP. “And I thought it might be criticized as well.”

Ono says she made the decision because she wants people to see the effects of gun violence, but I dunno, Mixers: Aren’t we all pretty clear on what guns do? What do you think? Is this a legitimate opportunity for education and reflection, or just further capitalization on the tragic murder of a talented man? Is Yoko making the right decision in trotting these intimate artifacts out? Or is it time to put poor John to rest already? And will you be attending the exhibit?

addCredit(“Evan Agostini/AP Images”)

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
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  • CJ

    yuck. I can’t imagine how you could do that. They are the clothes your spouse was murdered in. Why would you even still have them? Yoko crazy.

  • wendy

    I think that anyone who is like “oooh, I want to see the bloody clothes he was murdered in” is not the type of person you want to attract. dumb idea.

  • Melissa

    I think I’d probably go and see this. Last time I was there the Ford Theater had some of the bloody sheets from Lincoln’s assassination on exhibit.
    I don’t think Ono’s reasoning really holds up. We know guns kill. What showing these objects does it makes people more real. People like Lincoln and Lennon are mostly tragic deaths some of us have read about. But you see that they actually bled puts things into perspective. I find that exhibits like this move me. It shows that these people who were rightfully elevated to a status that could be called beyond mortal are just like you and me.

  • Winona

    She already had the bag of clothes – and his still-bloody glasses – on display at the Cleveland Rock Hall’s Lennon exhibit (I think I saw it in summer 2001). Both items were encased in a floor-to-ceiling white tower, with a clear center where you could see the bag and the glasses on a stand. White benches with white tissue boxes were nearby, and many people (myself included) used them. There was also a white phone on a nearby wall with a sign that essentially said, “If this rings, pick it up because it’s Yoko calling.” She never called while I was there, but a docent said she called usually a couple times a week.
    Yoko has been quite involved in anti-gun programs, so I think this is perfectly in line with her advocacy. Shocking? Yes. Moving? Yes. But I think she’s preaching to the choir.

  • kir

    Yoko, crazy? No. I do believe that title belongs to an M. Chapman. Props to Ono for taking a stand against gun violence. And for being “human.”

  • g5wilso9

    Guns don’t kill anymore than cars do…people kill, using cars, knives, forks, guns, sticks etc. How many lives have been saved by someone defending with a gun…ohh but you don’t look at that do you?

  • MsDaisy

    I think the exhibit of the clothes just punctuates how absolutely senselss murder is and what the world lost when Lennon was murdered. If you don’t want to look at that part of the exhibit, then move on.

  • sarah

    I think it’s good that Ono is doing that.
    I see no problem in it.

  • music masala

    I encourage any sort of exhibition that opens new generations to how great an artist John Lennon was and how senseless murder is. Good art almost always depicts morbid loss and loneliness. Censorship and guns only silence it.

  • Jeff

    As disturbing as that part of the exhibit might be (and I do plan to visit it), the point is – this is a museum, and there’s no denying the importance of the events of Dec 8, 1980 or the validity of having those artifact in the Lennon presentation.

  • patty

    this just adds to my dislike of yoko. I have read almost anything I can on the beatles and John, and I think yoko was his demise and she continues to capitalize on him. I weep for him, his sons, and what he stood for, but she is just a waste of space and looney!!!!!!!

  • Lin

    It’s a horrific idea. John Lennon stood for peace and would certainly want to be remembered for that, not having people attending this exhibit walking away with a memory of his bloody clothes. If Yoko wants to make a stand on guns, she should insist on having information on gun control at the exhibit or invite attendees to sign a petition banning guns.

  • Jill

    OMG OMG …..It’s just totally WRONG.
    Ask yourself …what would Lennon do??
    I’m sure John would not want everyone or anyone to see his bloody clothes.
    We all know what blood looks like!
    I love Yoko (not half as much as John) but this is just wrong wrong wrong!
    Come on draw the line …somewhere!

  • The Walrus

    This is not the first time they have been displayed. The clothes are in a paper sack, kind of like a grocery bag, and you can’t see blood or the clothes. Tone the “shock” down. The only thing that’s disturbing is that Yoko Ono is living the high life off of her deceased husband.

  • THe Walrus Was Paul

    I think John would approve–his life with Yoko was centered around performance art–he was killed in cold blood, it is an indelible part if his life…Yoko isn’t making it the focal point…it happened and it ought to be noted.

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