Wish Tree (Yoko Ono art series)

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Yoko Ono's Wish Trees for London at the "Yoko Ono To The Light" exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London, June 2012

Wish Tree is an ongoing art installation series by Japanese artist Yoko Ono, started in 1996,[1] in which a tree native to a site is planted under her direction. Viewers are usually invited to tie a written wish to the tree except during the winter months when a tree can be more vulnerable. Locations of the piece have included New York City, St. Louis, Wish Tree for Washington, DC, San Francisco, Pasadena, and Palo Alto, California, Tokyo, Venice, Paris, Dublin, London, Exeter, England, Finland and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Calgary.

Her 1996 Wish Piece had the following instructions:

Make a wish. Write it down on a piece of paper. Fold it and tie it around a branch of a Wish Tree. Ask your friends to do the same. Keep wishing. Until the branches are covered with wishes.[2][incomplete short citation]

Installations have involved from one to 21 trees, and varieties include lemon trees, eucalyptus, and crepe myrtles. To honor wish writers' privacy, Ono claims she does not read the wishes, and collects them all to be buried at the base of the Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay in Iceland.[1] To date over 1 million wishes have been buried beneath the tower.


The series developed after an installation of one tree in Finland grew into a mini-forest, and Ono felt a continuing social need. She has also said:

As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always filled with people's wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar.[1]

In fall 2010, Ono performed Voice Piece for Soprano, near the MoMA rendition of the piece as part of the museum's collections show.[3] Musician Pharrell Williams wrote on one in New York in 2013.[4]


Year City or country Institution or group, if known Title, if known Tree type, if known Other
Before 1996 Finland[1]
1996 Alicante, Valencia, Spain[5] pomegranate[6][incomplete short citation]
2002 San Francisco[7] SFMoMA
Exeter, England[8]
2003 Venice, Italy Peggy Guggenheim Collection Wish Tree Venice 2003. To Peggy with Love x Yoko olive tree[9] Permanent installation
2007 Washington, DC Hirshhorn Museum gardens Wish Tree for Washington, DC dogwood[10]
São Paulo[8]
2008 Pasadena, California One Colorado shopping center Wish Tree for Pasadena 21 crepe myrtle trees Permanently installed at Arlington Garden, Pasadena
2009 Palo Alto, California Stanford University campus two lemon trees[11]
2010 New York City[4] MoMA
Oberlin, Ohio[8] Oberlin College
2012 New York City Occupy Wall Street (Zuccotti Park) Wish Tree for Zuccotti Park Project altered to distribution of 10,000 postcards after fall 2011 police raid of park[12]
Dublin Wish Tree for Ireland[13]
London Serpentine Galleries Wish Tree for London
2012-13 Brooklyn, New York[14] Brooklyn Museum
2013 St. Louis[15] Saint Louis Art Museum
Sydney, Australia Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney Wish Tree for Sydney[16] six eucalyptus[17]
2014 Orlando[18] and Tampa, Florida[19] Hard Rock Cafe locations
2016 Manhattan Beach, California Manhattan Beach Art Center Wish Tree for Manhattan Beach unknown Temporary installation
Buenos Aires, Argentina MALBA Part of Yoko Ono retrospective
2018 New York City Performa 17 unknown Temporarily installed at festival headquarters[20]
2019 Bad Homburg vor der Höhe Blickachsen Wish Trees for Bad Homburg[21] apple tree[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "Yoko Ono's Wish Trees". Imagine Peace Tower website.
  2. ^ Munroe et al. 2000, p. 294.
  3. ^ "Multimedia: Voice Piece for Soprano & Wish Tree. At MoMA. Summer 2010 by yoko ono". moma.org. Retrieved Nov 20, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Pharrell Williams Wrote a Pretty Cool Wish on Yoko Ono's Wish Tree". N.Y. Observer. June 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "Imagine....Yoko Ono in Pasadena, Folio" (PDF). Pasadena Arts Council. July 2008. p. 1.
  6. ^ Munroe et al. 2000, p. 266.
  7. ^ "yes Yoko Ono First American Retrospective of Pioneering Artist on View at SFMoMA in Only West Coast Presentation (press release)". sfmoma.org. Jan 22, 2002.
  8. ^ a b c d Gurney, Sari. "Exhibitions by Yoko Ono". Retrieved Nov 20, 2014.
  9. ^ "Yoko Ono". Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Retrieved Nov 20, 2014.
  10. ^ "Yoko Ono, Imagine Peace. Street Scenes: Projects for DC. Inauguration 2009" (PDF). streetscenesdc.com. Jan 13, 2009.
  11. ^ Haven, Cynthia (December 19, 2008). "Yoko Ono to speak at Stanford, Stanford Report". Stanford University.
  12. ^ Levin, Sam (Jan 14, 2012). "Yoko Ono (Not Present) Promotes Peace at Zuccotti; Occupiers Proceed to 'Drop Dead'". Village Voice.
  13. ^ "Yoko Ono receives a lifetime achievement award in Dublin | Irish Entertainment in Ireland and Around the World". IrishCentral. June 28, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "Exhibitions: Wish Tree". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved Nov 20, 2014.
  15. ^ "Yoko Ono's Wish Tree at Saint Louis Art Museum". Blouin Art Info. August 19, 2013.
  16. ^ "Museum of Contemporary Art Photo: Wish Tree – Yoko Ono". TripAdvisorUK. 2000. Retrieved Nov 20, 2014.
  17. ^ "News: MCA Insight: War Is OVer! (if you want it): Yoko Ono". Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Retrieved Nov 20, 2014.
  18. ^ "News: Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos Takes Part in 7th Annual Imagine There's No Hunger Campaign Invites Guests and Fans to Take Park in Wish Tree". Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos. Nov 10, 2014.
  19. ^ "Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casino Tampa to Participate in Seventh Annual Imagine There's No Hunger Campaign". Tampa Bay Newswire. Nov 13, 2014.
  20. ^ "Performa 17". February 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Wish Trees for Bad Homburg" (in English and German). Blickachsen 12.