Brian M. Raftery
October 27, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Quick: Which one is the accomplished artist, and which one is the outsider struggling for acceptance? Whatever you may think of McCartney and Ono, these two books may challenge your assumptions. Yes: Yoko Ono is perhaps the fairest assessment yet of Ono’s lengthy and influential career in conceptual art, chronicling her forays into film, music, and multimedia with sharp insight and extensive documentation. (Hindsight helps: What was exotic or eccentric in 1969 now seems prescient.) Yes may not win any converts — its accompanying three-track CD didn’t make me want to seek out her other efforts — but it’s deservedly in-depth. McCartney’s art career is shorter: He began just over 17 years ago, which may explain why Paul McCartney: Paintings feels like an overly eager effort to legitimize his work. With its loving Q&As and none-too-critical essays, the tone is as fluffy and upbeat as the Cute One himself. It’s a strange contrast to the muddled, dreary paintings of dripping faces and — blimey! — phalluses, imagery that suggests even McCartney may have taken a few cues from Ono.
Yes: B+
Paintings: C

You May Like