Hiroshi Sugimoto, Ugo Rondinone, and Other Artists Have Hand-Written Hopes for Yoko Ono’s ‘Wish Tree’—See Their Messages Here

Ono's "Wish Tree" is being revamped for the age of social distancing.

Yoko Ono, Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007), installed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian. Photo by Jazmine Johnson, courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.
Yoko Ono, Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007), installed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian. Photo by Jazmine Johnson, courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Yoko Ono is bringing her famed Wish Tree to the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.—but with a virtual twist for the age of social distancing.

The interactive artwork typically allows viewers to write their wishes for the future of humanity on small slips of paper and hang them from the branches of trees planted by the Japanese artist in places around the world.

In 2007, Ono gifted a dogwood tree, titled Wish Tree for Washington, D.C., to the Hirshhorn, and it “blooms” with museum goers’ wishes each summer. (The rest of the year, Ono asks that you whisper your wish to the tree.)

This year, art lovers are invited to share photographs of their handwritten wishes with the museum via Instagram under the hashtags #WishTreeDC and #YokoOno. Hirshhorn staff will then transfer as many wishes as possible to paper tags, sharing photographs of the installation on social media as it grows.

As always, the wishes will be harvested at the end of the season, and buried on Videy Island in Iceland, at the foot of Ono’s installation Imagine Peace Tower, a memorial dedicated to her late husband, John Lennon.

Yoko Ono, <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007), installed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Photo by Andy DelGiudice.

Yoko Ono, Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007), installed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Photo by Andy DelGiudice.

“We are honored to partner with Yoko Ono to share her timeless message of peace,” Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu said in a statement. “The past year has challenged the Hirshhorn to translate the power of artworks including Wish Tree for Washington, D.C. for online audiences… . We’ll continue to invite global audiences to connect through modern art in meaningful ways until we can be together in person once again.”

The museum has also created instructions for making your own Wish Tree at home. To date, the Hirshhorn has collected over 100,000 wishes for the project, which has had more than a million participants worldwide.

See some of the wishes submitted to this year’s Wish Tree at the Hirshhorn below.

Hiroshi Sugimoto's wish for Yoko Ono's <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007). Written on Japanese rice paper, it reads peace and mind (or heart), with two stamps by the artist. Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s wish for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007). Written on Japanese rice paper, it reads, “Peace and mind (or heart),” with two stamps by the artist. Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Ugo Rondinone's wish for Yoko Ono's <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Ugo Rondinone’s wish for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Ken Lum's wish for Yoko Ono's <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Ken Lum’s wish for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Byron Kim's wish for Yoko Ono's <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Byron Kim’s wish for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Liz Larner's wish for Yoko Ono's <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Liz Larner’s wish for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Sarah Anne Johnsons's wish for Yoko Ono's <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Sarah Anne Johnsons’s wish for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Michelle Stuart's wish for Yoko Ono's <em>Wish Tree for Washington, DC</em> (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

Michelle Stuart’s wish for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC (2007). Photo courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian.

“Yoko Ono: Wish Tree for Washington, DC” will be on view virtually and in person at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Ave SW &, 7th St SW, in Washington, D.C., April 15–31, 2021.


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