Frank Bramblett, Oh No, Yoko! Where What Where

floor tile, silicon rubber, mirror, glass, and enamel on panel
Credit Line
Gift of the artist, 2015
83 1/2 x 192 in.

The three vertical sections of Oh No, Yoko! contain thematic references to battle, death, and the afterlife, as well as figures from paintings by several renowned artists. At far left, St. George fights a dragon and Hercules shoots a poison arrow into the centaur Nessus (who holds Hercules’ wife in his grip). In the center are Pablo Picasso’s Three Musicians (1921) (generally understood as a tribute to lost friends and the deceased poet Guillaume Apollinaire), and Édouard Manet’s Dead Toreador (probably 1864). On the right, the figures of Henri Matisse’s Dance (I) (early 1909) exude joy, while angels from a mural by Giotto fly above and Superman soars in triumph. 

In the late 1970s, Bramblett began to spend more time in museums, looking at paintings and teaching himself art history. Of Oh No, Yoko! he says, “I was interested in not only the image, but also the baggage of the image, including the interpretations, meanings, and their combinations relative to cultural issues, or political issues.” At this time he was also making works with imagery culled from newspapers and other media sources, including likenesses of the recently murdered John Lennon. The title is an exclamation directed at Yoko Ono, a conceptual artist and Lennon’s widow. 

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