The renowned 26-year traveling exhibition of John Lennon’s artwork is coming to San Diego. Local owner of Off the Record and art collector Richard Horowitz brings it home with the impressive collection of more than 120 serigraphs, signed lithographs and song lyrics, including the famous Bag One Portfolio, a series John Lennon had painted for wife Yoko Ono as a wedding present.
First released in 1969, Horowitz obtained the entire 15 lithographs of the Bag One portfolio in the mid 1980s. The only thing missing? The white vinyl bag it originally came in.
After spotting it in a window in Laguna Beach, Richard began a business relationship with Pacific Edge Gallery owner Paul Jillson, and hosted the first John Lennon exhibition in 1990 at his record store.
At a 1992 Seattle exhibition, Yoko Ono’s assistant flew out, revealing that the John Lennon collection didn’t have full representation in the United States. Soon it traveled to a city every month, and 26 years later, it lands here in San Diego. PACIFIC spoke with Horowitz about the legendary exhibition:
PACIFIC: This is exciting for San Diego. How did you manage to get it back here?
Horowitz: I’ve been working with the Yoko Ono and the John Lennon estate for 26 years and have traveled across the U.S. and Canada with the exhibit. Since I have lived in San Diego for 40 years, we thought it would be the perfect place to end the tour!
What are some of the song lyrics people will see?
We’ll have 20 song lyrics on display and for sale, including “In My Life,” “Revolution,” “Dear Prudence,” “Day Tripper,” “Julia,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Nowhere Man.”
Any familiar artworks people might already know and can look for?
Yes, there are several artworks that appeared in John’s early books, which came out in 1964 and 1965. Millions of people purchased those books back then.
John Lennon exhibition
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 18-19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 20
Where: Lower level at the Flower Hill Promenade near Opus Bank, 2720 Via de la Valle, Del Mar
What’s your favorite piece?
I love the artwork entitled “Bag One.” It is the frontispiece of the portfolio and is hand signed by John.
What’s something surprising people might discover at this exhibition or might not know about John Lennon?
I think that many people have no idea that John Lennon was an artist before the Beatles took over his life. Art was very important to him, and he drew constantly. The other thing that consistently amazes me is how many young people come out to see this exhibit, and how influential John is in their lives.
Favorite quote from John Lennon?
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”