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Growing Green Souls: MoMA’s Digital Design Manager Inspires the Public with the Delight of Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit

Yoko Ono, one of the most influential figures in avant-garde art, has profoundly influenced both the music industry and the global stage. While Ono is famous for her peace activism, she also gained respect for Grapefruit, an instructional art book that focuses on intuitive body movement, interactive art, and the relationship between a person’s body and their environment. Today, as more people seek to live in harmony with the planet, institutions such as New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are helping the public rediscover Grapefruit. In March 2024, MoMA launched Grapefruit in collaboration with Pangaia on its online store to help celebrate its Earth Month theme. Guiding this initiative was Design Manager ShuYuan Zheng, whose creative direction was integral to the product line’s visual design, photography direction, and content development. Below, ShuYuan talks more about his work to educate MoMA’s visitors and those who shop in the online store about the unique story behind this Yoko Ono Pop-up with MoMA and Pangaia. 

ShuYuan, who trained as an industrial designer, illustrator, and generative designer, is passionate about using stories and interactive media to make a product come alive online. His goal is to connect with the public so that they become just as excited about the product in his hands as he is, even though they can’t actually see or touch it.

“With Grapefruit, I had this incredible book in front of me with an important message: the need for us to get closer to our bodies and the planet,” ShuYuan says. “The question was how to bring the power of Yoko Ono’s book to our online store so that the public would learn more about it as well as our commitment to sustainability. The complexities of art revealed the answer.”

ShuYuan turned to dance and photography to bring Grapefruit alive online in a fresh, inspiring way. Collaborating with a troupe of exceptionally gifted dancers, he entrusted them with the task of translating Ono’s concepts into captivating movements, a decision that would prove transformative. ShuYuan says that his approach initially involved providing the dancers with detailed instructions on how to embody the essence of the book. What unfolded, however, was a revelation.

“At the center of unforgettable art is spontaneity, as the human spirit must be allowed to express itself naturally,” ShuYuan believes. “While instruction was necessary to a certain degree, allowing the dancers to interpret Grapefruit themselves resulted in amazing photographs and visual outcomes. The dancers captured the essence of Ono’s work by creating their own spontaneous choreography. It was very much like the great power of beauty, bound in her artwork, was unleashed and given flesh and bones when interpreted by the dancers. Their contributions to MoMA’s Grapefruit project were remarkable and will be enjoyed by the public.” 

At the heart of it all, this collaboration has not only breathed new life into Ono’s Grapefruit but has also illuminated the profound impact of spontaneous artistic expression. The beauty of the dance resonates deeply with all who experience it, embodying Ono’s artistic spirit through mesmerizing movements.

After all elements of production were completed, the Grapefruit campaign launched in March 2024 and is being shown in three museum store locations in New York City. Ono’s book, which visitors are able to view in the museum’s collection, is available for purchase online around the world. Sustainable apparel featuring Ono’s artwork can also be found on MoMA’s online store.

“At MoMA, we have worked hard to capture the essence of Ono’s artistry within contemporary materiality,” says ShuYuan. “We hope everyone enjoys her unique ability to leverage art as a catalyst for action and to foster grand social experiments within the realm of commodities. The Yoko Ono x MoMA Pop-up is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the role we all have to play in order to leave a more peaceful footprint on Earth.” As visitors immerse themselves in the Yoko Ono x MoMA Pop-up, they are invited to reflect on their contribution to a more peaceful and sustainable world.


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