The feminist musician and artist Peaches has just released a book entitled What Else Is In the Teaches of Peaches (Akashic), a collection of photographs chronicling her concerts and performances over the course of several years. What follows is Yoko Ono’s essay from the book, critiquing Peaches’ performance of Ono’s iconic 1965 work, Cut Piece.
Peaches performed my work Cut Piece at the Meltdown Festival in London in 2013. There was a lot of talk about it. “Do you think she will?” “Yeah, I think she will.” “I don’t think she will—it’s not an easy piece...” That sort of talk. I thought it was interesting that all this was said in whispers. It seems that the piece demanded to be whispered about.
Backstage, Peaches casually said she didn’t have any problem getting totally naked. When she was finally on the stage, I realized what she meant. She sat quietly but her body was expressing a universe. Sensitivity, vulnerability, strength without trying—all with dignity, representing us women. Cut Piece will never be performed again with such eloquence, I thought. What I discovered in Peaches was the new-age performance artists and how they are. They are not scared of being beautiful and showing it. Whereas we, the past feminists, thought it was important to look like soldiers if we wanted to be taken seriously. No more. Women are not scared of showing their vulnerability either. Not scared of letting their intelligence shine. And not scared of just being themselves instead of constantly being apologetic to the male species, or being rebellious.
All that was expressed by Peaches, sitting on an otherwise totally bare stage. I don’t think a symphony could have matched what she did. She is an incredible artist. Seeing her do Cut Piece, and later, after attending her own shows, I have a clear vision of future women artists led by the creative courage of Peaches. Thank you, Peaches, for adding a long and exciting life to performance art.
Peaches will read and sign What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches tonight, June 9, 7 PM, at WORD BROOKLYN in Brooklyn, New York, and Wednesday, June 10 at 12:30 PM at the Bryant Park Reading Room in Manhattan.