Ralph Applebaum Associates

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John Lennon: The New York City Years

New York, New York

John Lennon: The New York City Years

This exhibition, developed with Yoko Ono, showcased John Lennon’s life and work in New York City from September 1971 until his fatal shooting in December 1980. It celebrates Lennon as a musician, political activist, visual artist, husband, and father and explored his legacy for both longtime fans and those born since his death.

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White casework, walls, seating, and floor evoked the couple’s white living room at the Dakota. Four media programs presented performance footage, music videos, interviews, and home movies. Artifacts included handwritten lyrics, his drawings, and the eyeglasses he was wearing when he died.

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John Lennon: The New York City Years_4
John Lennon: The New York City Years_4

The exhibition offers an overview of Lennon’s creative world, with examples of his art (drawings and collages, some never seen before), video clips of his performances, and, most crucially, a collection of lyric sheets and production notes that, if you look closely at Lennon’s changes, additions, and annotations, tell a lot about his working methods and his ways of thinking about music.

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John Lennon: The New York City Years_7

To denote Lennon’s lengthy fight against deportation, instigated by the Nixon administration’s belief that his anti-war campaign presented a threat to its power, his green card and never-before-seen letters of support for his American visa are on display. The exhibition includes never-before-seen objects associated with Lennon’s assassination. Visitors could sign a petition, alongside this display, demanding stricter gun laws.

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The exhibition revealed timeless connections between John Lennon and his second hometown: a place that he loved and a place that will always love him.

Year 2009

Size 2,500 square feet

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Photography ©Albert Vecerka