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SXSW 2011 Preview: Yoko Ono/Sean Lennon

Sonic signature: Born and raised in Japan but schooled, if you will, in New York’s flourishing art scene, SXSW speaker Yoko Ono helped John Lennon produce immortal anthems like “Give Peace a Chance” and stunning albums like Imagine, as well as formulate the pair’s peace and art activism throughout the early ’70s. Her solo efforts helped recode avant-garde, alternative and dance music in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and she has since worked with or been covered by everyone from Elvis Costello and The Flaming Lips to Cat Power, Peaches and DJ Spooky. (Check out Spiritualized’s heavy reboot of Double Fantasy’s “Walking on Thin Ice” below for more on Ono’s renewable resourcefulness.)

“At the risk of being even more blasphemous than making porn for God, I believe that Ono is a more significant and interesting and original artist than John Lennon, and would in fact rate her in my top 10 favorite living artists in any genre,” conceptual artist and frequent Wired contributor Jonathon Keats told by e-mail, right before we passed out from the shock. “Her instruction paintings in particular seem to me to be the ultimate redemption of art through the negation of all it had previously been and had been expected to be: the logical conclusion of Dada and its antidote.”

Now appearing: While she won’t be performing at SXSW, she will chat about her life’s work — and, inevitably, John Lennon’s legacy — Friday morning at the Austin Convention Center.

See also: Sean Lennon. Ono’s son performs Saturday night with Charlotte Kemp-Muhl as The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (below), whose 2010 debut album, Acoustic Sessions, concerned itself with dark matter, Schroedinger’s cat and robot empaths. Lennon’s appearance is part of his Chimera Music showcase, which features artists from the label and is capped with a 1 a.m. performance by Ono.