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Yoko Ono Just Created a Huge New Mural at Union Market

The Yoko Ono mural at Union Market will be on display for several months. Photograph by Emma McAlary

We already know Washingtonians love a good mural for their social media feed. So here’s a new one to check out: a mural by Yoko Ono, officially opening this Friday at Union Market.

Ono’s Relax. Your Heart Is Stronger Than What You Think! mural is located on nearly 1,000 square feet of Union Market’s exterior, and will be on display for several months. It’s the final component of Yoko Ono: Four Works for Washington and the World, a Hirshhorn exhibition that celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Ono’s work Wish Tree for Washington, DC.

Ono’s piece joins several other murals at Union Market that are already visitor favorites, including Mr. Brainwash’s murals which were unveiled on International Women’s Day in 2016.

The new mural features Ono’s signature text-based style. The Hirshhorn’s description of the work says that she hoped “it might compel us to step outside of our daily lives and consider the power of the heart over the restrictions of the mind.”

Mark Beasley, the Hirshhorn’s curator of media and performance art, says installing the mural at Union Market was the perfect way to bring museum artwork out into the community for people to enjoy.

“It’s very social and part of the fabric of the city,” he said of Union Market. “We just thought it would be great to have a public work of Yoko’s for the Hirshhorn in the City project.”

Beasley hopes that in the next three months, every mural viewer will get something unique out of Ono’s words.

“It can mean what it means to you,” he says. “It’s really about your value systems and it invites you to question what you know.”

The Hirshhorn exhibit will culminate with a live performance on Sunday, September 17, based on Ono’s music and her influence on music, art, and poetry. Concert for Yoko Ono, Washington, and the World will include performances by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, Lizzi Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance, and Moor Mother. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased here.

Editorial Fellow

Abbey joined Washingtonian in September 2017. A Miami University (Ohio, not Florida) alum, she called the Midwest home before moving to Vermont to report for the Burlington Free Press and to be closer to her one true love: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Her work has also appeared in Cincinnati Magazine and USA Today. Abbey lives in Falls Church.