DEAR HANOI JANE(FONDA)
context....this was written after i left ut texas,and servEd as a healing tool, nothing else.
TO BE READ IN AN ACTIVIST'SVOICE:Dear Hanoi Jane,Jane,you were right. Right to say that you were wrong back then.It was wrong of you not to do what everybody else was doing and right now to say that you were wrong then.You are right, you should not have sympathesized with the Viet Cong because many, many Americans thought that you were wrong.You should not have spoken against involvment of American troops in Vietnam because the majority of Americans thought that it was right for them to be there. Majority rules, Jane.You were wrong then and right now.Shame on you ,Jane. You should feel guilty now for having been one of the first Americans to be let into North Vietnam by Ho Chi Minh.You traitor,you.But now that you are almost 60 and wiser and have stopped fighting and joined the rest of the world, you have a chance to feel bad for awhile and then good.Now more and more people can run up to you in airports these days as was reported by the media recently, and throw their arms around you, the prodigal daughter, the good American girl, returning home to group think. We all make mistakes ,Jane, even you and as you age, you will discover even more of them!
TO BE READ IN AN ALCOHOLIC'S VOICE:The reason I'm congratulating you , Jane, is because I feel the same way,Jane. Yes Jane, I'm home now and I feel wrong, not better,just wrong. Actually I'm almost 60 too and I'm very sorry for what I have done just as you are sorry for what you did.I'm sorry Jane that I didall of those scary, awfull,outrageous performances all of these years. Shame on me, Jane, I'm also a traitor.Just like you!
TO BE READ IN A BRITISH CRITIC'S VOICE:Ms Montano, how absurd, how utterly absurd.Your work is revolutionary, important and presents a critical art/life paradigm essential to the historical perspective of the post-modern dialectic. The paradoxes presented in your visionary hermeticism and comedic dramaturgy address not only a performatively brilliant stance but efficaciously interface minimalist conceptualism with Dionisian/autobiographical/tantric excess. As a woman of culture and learning you deserve the applause and endless commendations which accompany your legendary name.
TO BE READ IN AN ALCOHOLIC VOICE:Maybe but shame on you, Jane.I mean shame on me,sorry! I have always been very innocent and naive and idealistic. Really!I was just like you but now I see students imitating the performances art receipe for all of the wrong reasons...for the fame, for tabloid covers, for sit-com spots, for e-commerce sites, for Hugh Hefner spreads, for reality shows. And Jane, I do admit that we weren't angels, not at all. We all wanted those movie contracts, those retrospectives, those broadway shows,but we are still very talented, creative and good artist from the old school, eventhough we are in a bit of a muddle right now.It's just that our good intentions and radical work got twisted by time and now we should really feel shame and sorrow for having glutted the galleries and performance spaces with out creative outrages and eschewed visions. Right, Jane?
TO BE READ IN A BRITISH CRITIC'S VOICE:Poppycock! Ms.Montano, you are a champion of humanity,confideently and optimistically exuding messianic-like depth into you highly sophisticated,elegant and refined iconography.Your philosophic thoughtfullness is culturally available to all and can be studied online or in scholarly journals, those interested can obtain copies of your many paged resume, foundations continue to grant you rewards well deserved and your colleagues all agree that the sacred and profane converge in your original ideations and they garner respect for you,for you are not only one of the primemovers in early performance art of the 70's but are internationally reverenced and renowned in the history of this innovatively challenging art.
TO BE READ IN AN ALCOHOLIC'S VOICE:Jane,you are sorry for Viet Nam, right? I'm sorry too for alot of the things I've done. I'm sorry that I taught performance art because now it is being imitated by young whippersnappers who have taken it totally out of it's sacred context, it is being commodified and money has upstaged our pure spirit and honest approach to matter.These young people joke around and this jocularity is being substituted for what was for us in the 70's a highly concentrated rite of passage wherein we were able to cultivate trance, attentional depths and minds bordering on enlightened. Performance art was different then, Jane.Right? Jane, are you understanding why I feel so guilty, just like you do?TO BE READ IN A BRITISH CRITIC'S VOICE:I will not hear of this. Montano, your teaching style is impeccable and your educational intentionality has inspired thousands, permissioning them to pursue their art practice with a grace, refinement and restraint which skillfully and coherently allows them to aesthetically and financially travel the depths of their creative subconscious, only to return to freely and unabashedly express their visions to audiences who hunger for their innovative voices and visions.If we were to compare your skills, Montano, to those of the average person on the street, we might mention that you,Montano have aesthetic alertness and precesion similar to that of a board certified eye surgeon performing a cataract operation on a well loved relative..You are that carefull with your art and your life.Let the secret enrollers of the Macarthur Grant hear this. Reward this woman, please!Let Guggenheim do the same,Let's buy her extensive archive and produce her DVD! Let's give her anything she wants. We need her voice! We need this champion of culture, this living legend.
TO BE READ IN AN ALCOHOLIC'S VOICE:Let's get back to the truth.You know Jane Fonda, we were the original performance artists, you and I.We were innocently doing our work without backbiting or competetiveness, without greed or the need for fame. These young people now, on TV, are becoming survivors instead of fine artists.It's all backwards Jane and we were never like that, right? We were more interested in conceptual practices, in sculpting form, shape ,color, time and our bodies with our ideas, right Jane? That's what we thought we were teaching when we taught performance art, right? But I was wrong Jane because today I saw a child-girl in a very conservative upstate NY village, walking around as if dazed and half drugged,half dressed, as if performing visibility/mask/body art/endurance/taboo all without an announcement of the show, all there for the public to witness .It's the stuff we did, Jane.It looked so familiar and yet I was shocked when I realized that 4 years ago, I would have applauded her urban neurosis and need to be seen performatively and yet today, Jane,I wanted her to go home to Mom, eat a bowl of home made soup and receive a nurturing/authentic hug.
TO BE READ IN A BRITISH CRITIC'S VOICE:Rediculous Montano, get a grip.You are and always have been a highly principled and morally outstanding exemplar of virtue.You've ennobled performance art with symbolistic/spiritual nourishment, with a severe and austere re-seeing of endurance. You've provided a cyborgian dismissal of outdated physicality, a virtual embracement of technological advances and a cross-cultural remapping of Lacanian discourse.This medicinal interiority, known only to this art form,is one practiced shamanically for centuries by the creative undergroound. Thank you, Ms.Montano .Don't feel shame, feel our thanks.
TO BE READ IN AN ALCOHOLIC VOICE:But Jane,I'm sorry, not bitter. Sorry and sometimes I don't know why I'm sorry! Probably you're sorry that you made all of those sexy movies, right? Including Barbarella.I'm not being litigious or hostile or aggressive here but performance art has become a pie-in-the-face , and is no longer a dignified chapter in the history of art. The parody, dangerous actions, and disregard for the sanctity of the genre,scares me Jane. Do you feel the same way, that directors imitated your style and made many other Barbarella-looking movies and you ended up mentoring young starlets to be indecent and immodest, just like you were? So like you Jane, I apologize and I'm stopping the game, right here and now. No more art for me just like you probably said, no more movies,no more activism for you, right,Jane?
TO BE READ IN A BRITISH CRITIC'S VOICE:For those of us educated to your credentialed greatness and the vagaries of your career as heyoka, trickster,yogi,mystic,Blakeian genius and technician of consciousnes, your argument Montano does not hold water. You must not leave. Don't give up! Your mensa-like brilliance, excellent powers of aesthetic discrimination , your superior reflections on Truth itself, have lifted the art community to heights unknown in the field. With reverence we honor you as a pioneeer of higher consciousness. And with all due respect, I wish many years of contributions to this work of aesthetic evolution.
TO BE READ IN AN ALCOHOLIC VOICE:Jane, I've included in this letter, a 12 step exercise which has helped me alot.Hope you can use it too.The part about finding a Higher Power has been super.