LINDA WEINTRAUB: DAD ART, FALES LIBRARY, NYU, APRIL 14,2015: MY RESPONSE
With thanks to Marvin Taylor, Director of NYU-Fales Library and Special Collections & to Lisa Darms, Senior Archivist, on April 14, 2015, my archive was launched. It was a glorious event which included a panel of colleague-artists: Kathy Brew, Linda Weintraub, virtual Martha Wilson (via Britta Wheeler as Montano & Miss Toni Silver as Wilson) and Karen Finley. Each panelist talked about my work and the night concluded with my video-performance as Bob Dylan. Please go to Fales Library-Internet site if you wish to download the entire program/see the panelists presentations, and to also research the listing of all of the papers in my archive which Emily King, graduate assistant, has brilliantly catalogued.
The purpose of this paper, is to talk about panelist Linda Weintraub's description of her experience when she visited me while I "performed" DAD ART, a 7 year interaction with my father, Henry Montano. Her presentation at Fales was actually instructive and new for me probably because I had not allowed my time with my father to become public for many years since I consider it a ritual of mourning and not "art." The way Linda explained it, and her experience of being "part" of it, was extremely moving. She described DAD ART as "PRAYER."
Months before the panel, I had sent emails to Linda, telling her that being with my father for those 7 years was: LIFE-LIFE. And LIFE-ART. And not ART-ART or ART-LIFE. We talked about ART-ART as commodity and DAD ART as mourning. That night, at the panel, I cried as she sensitively told DAD ART stories and wove into her presentation: theory and practice, life and art and even the neurobiology of my father's post-hemorrhagic stroke which gave birth to his ability to make fabulous, abstact-Zen-like expressionist paintings for over an hour a day, every day, in slow motion and with impeccably focused attention. His brush would suspend over the paper, then incrementally, slowly, the color would emerge. Everyone could see that my Dad, the musician, not the visual artist, used/resurrected his deep need to express beauty, despite his injuries-challenges. Losing everything, he became everything.