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Friday, January 4, 2013




In 1984, I began a durational performance titled 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART 1984-1991 then continued with ANOTHER 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART 1991-1998 and then ANOTHER 21 YEARS OF LIVING ART 1998-2019. The first 14 years were dedicated to an indepth examination and experience of the Chakras as taught to me by my guru, SHRI BRAHMANANDA SARASWATI, M.D. My fascination and absorption in Hindu theology and my teacher's ability to bring to life the inner light of this colorful and wise mapping system, fascinated me and made me curious about ways I could adapt this system to my art-life.

As a result, I created a structure and self disciplined practice that included spening time in a colored room, the color of the chakra I was studing; I listened to one tone 7 hours a day, one I had chosen by chance operations to represent that chakra; I wore one color clothes each year for the 14 years ; Ispoke in an accent which corresponded with the chakra I was experencing, i.e. for the heart chakra, I spoke in a country western accent all year; I invited artists to come and study with me for 16 days each year at  my Kingston Ny home, THE ART/LIFE INSTITUTE.

You can research this project at my web: www.lindamontano.com
or in my book: LETTERS FROM LINDA M MONTANO, Routledge.



Another "vow" I took was to go once a month, for 7 years to THE NEW MUSEUM, NYC, where the director, Marcia Tucker had deigned that the back, Wooster Street window, would be a 7 year installation especially for this endurance. They painted it the color I was wearing , changing the room and table and chairs color each year.
I sat there, surrounded by that one color, at a small table and "counseled" artists and lifeists who came inside the window enclosure to experience art-life with me.
I wonder now if all of those years of walking into a dark confessional box as a child and telling my sins to a priest shaped my subconscious need to repeat the intimacy of confession via art?


At that time that I performed this version of ART/LIFE COUNSELING, I was a self taught Tarot and palm reader and also LOVED "reading" people's needs, intention and vibrations.
On the table I had a salt shaker and always said, "Take what I say with a grain of salt," and then I sprinkled some salt on their hand before I would ask, "What do You want from your art? " Or, "What is your art?"
Always an art question. It led to a life question and I would refer to Tarot or their palms for clues and suggestions. It all seemed to help and I felt needed and of service to others.


According to family members, I am bossy and love to tell people what to do, how to do it and why or why not to do or know or say or think or wear or go or come.
I must lead, I must be the bossgirl or I'm not a happy camper. So this performance allowed me to use my skills and also presented me with the opportunity to fix  everyone and rule my corner of the world. It worked, I got off giving advice and fixing and was making public, reportable and reviewable art in the process. When I talked with a collaborator at the table, I always referred to the chakra that I was "in" and made sure that I gave information to the person co-creating with me that they refer to their chakras as well so I imitated my teacher's teachings and got to be a faux guru, as art.


I continued to get gigs as an ART/LIFE COUNSELOR and set up "shop" in galleries, museum, universities for years and to this day, I perform as this persona and often do it for 7 hours at a time so that I can get to a place inside myself of fatigue that eats away at my own ego and my own desire to impress with my great WISDOM!


In the early years of the 21st century, I returned to an almost fundamentalist Catholicism and at that time, threw out all of the "occult" paraphenalia that I had used as tools of the trade. Out went the Tarot cards; out went the pendulum; out went the palm reading and in came praying with the other person and blessing them as we did ART/LIFE COUNSELING. Also after years of co-counseling which suggests that you go then I go, that is, I tell you my issues and you"fix" me, and then you tell me your issues and I "fix" you, I have incorporated a similartechnique that allows for a you-then-me process.
What I am doing is not therapy or psychoanalysis or anthing else but my own creation, so I can let happen anything that best fits my consciousness at the time.
The bottom line/mantra of this performance is: DO NO HARM and when I start posturing and exhibiting the attitude that LINDA KNOWS BEST AND YOU DONT, then I stop.
It is so easy to POWER-OVER another especially when:
1. People have a pain or a need or a curiosity about what is happening and know they might get "help" eventhough the experience is couched as art.
2.There seems to be a person IN CHARGE who knows something.
3. When a viewer is aesthetically challenge to become a participant in another person's art-game.
Very dangerous stuff!

NOW? How to fix this one way street dilemma?

1. As long as I have the actual or verbalized salt shaker and use it then we are both in humor mode and the power is shifted to suspension of power over..
2. As long as I proceed seeing and intending that the situation is a mutual "prayer".
3. As long as I give them a chance to then "FIX ME", then all is well. That way I actually say to them, "I have this issue, how would you advise me to fix it?"
More love,
Linda Mary Montano 2013.

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