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August 14, 2008
Fan lends Lennon drawings for rare exhibit

CBS News
An anonymous collector dubbed "Mr. Kite" has lent his drawings and memorabilia of John Lennon to a museum in suburban Milwaukee for a brief exhibit of work by the former Beatle.
It's a rare glimpse of art that Lennon, who attended three years of art college before the Beatles hit it big, produced throughout his life.
While Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has 1,700 of his drawings, she has been reluctant to show them publicly.
"Mr. Kite," whose pseudonym is drawn from the song Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite on the 1967 Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, is a man in his 50s who has managed to amass a collection of Lennon's works described as the third-largest in the world.
An exhibit of 27 pencil sketches and five lithographs and serigraphs from his collection opens Saturday at the Waukesha County Historical Society Museum in Milwaukee.
The short-lived exhibit, Coming Together Through the Art of John Lennon, lasts until Sept. 1.
"To have this calibre of an artist such as John Lennon, have this much body of his original work and the lithographs, which he created, in one place, in one public showing is incredibly unusual," said museum executive director Kirsten Villegas.
She said the museum has stepped up security for the special exhibit.
It's the first time the public will get to see most of the works, which include lithographs from Lennon's Bag One series, inspired by his wedding honeymoon and subsequent bed-in with Ono.
The Bag One series was exhibited in London, Detroit, Chicago and New York in January 1970. Three hundred bags created by designer Ted Lapidus — with a lithograph inside — were also created and sold.
Other drawings date back to the 1960s or as recently as 1978, two years before Lennon was killed.
Lennon was discouraged from exhibiting his work after police seized some of his drawings in London and damaged them.
Ono, and others who try to protect Lennon's legacy, have also shied away from public exhibits, in part because the documents are fragile.
There is also risk the drawings will get onto the internet and be reproduced illegally.
Paul Jillson, the owner of a Laguna Beach, Calif., gallery who has represented Lennon's artwork since 1988, said Lennon didn't sell his works through galleries and didn't catalogue them.
Jillson said he has 120 Lennon lithographs and serigraphs for sale.
"His art really speaks to people on a direct emotional level because, although it's simple in form, it has a lot of emotional meaning," he said. "It reminds people of why John was significant and what he stood for."

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