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Friday, April 10, 2015



Dear Fales Library & Special Collections,

A thank you to both Marvin Taylor, Director of Fales Library& Special Collections and Lisa Darms, Senior Archivist at Fales, is not a powerful enough word to use to communicate how honored I am to be included in your prestigious collection. Knowing my work has a safe home and is in good company with other artists, has released a wonderful and new expansiveness in my life.
Here is how it all began.
STAGE 1: When I was in my late 60's, I heard a good voice that advised me to find a home for my "papers." My first instinct is always to translate into art, my life-voices, so I made a film with editor Tobe Carey titled, Archive For Sale to let my intention be known via word of mouth, prayer, email, social media, You Tube and seeded dreaming. (The video is still on You Tube along with over 40 of my other free-to-see films.)
STAGE 2: I had already begun sorting 50 years of miscellaneous papers, performance props, letters, dream journals, business files and writings that I had mysteriously magnetized to myself and when piles of things emerged, I began to understand why I had unintentionally kept everything! That is, my sub-whatever must have though: "Maybe some of this might be useful to others someday?"
STAGE 3: I started a search for "archives" and NYU was suggested to me. Fales responded to my request and archivist Lisa Darms took a train upstate, visited me at THE ART/LIFE INSTITUTE in Kingston and surveyed the collection.
STAGE 4: Not chronologically but someplace in this process, helpers appeared: first, Karen Rodriquez Rice, who had curatorially interned at the Blanton, Umloff Gardens and Marfa; and some years later, Lydia Brawner, then a Fales archive assistant, came to Kingston and  taught me how to even more efficiently line up boxes, grab a stack of disordered papers/things and shuffle them with their expert pre-knowledge/almost humor, and aim them into marked containers. i.e.  OTHER ARTISTS. DRAWINGS. DAD ART. MOM ART. Order was on its way. And from that disorder to order dance, over 100 boxes were packed and transported to Fales in November 2013. But there was more! More things. In the Siberian winter of 2015, Ryan Baltor, a Bennington Intern, co-performed with me the packing/sending off of another 30 boxes. A poetically happy life endurance. And finally,  Emily King, Fales graduate assistant, processed the archive which is now open for public perusal and use. 
STAGE 5: Once Fales' desire to have the archive was agreed on, the next step was to ask my two brothers, Dr. William Montano, Anthony Montano and my niece, Dr. Laurie Montano Alderson to support the gift to the Fales Library and Special Collections. I thank my family's generous participation and belief in my work.
STAGE 6Tonight, I am extremely happy that my friends and colleagues Kathy Brew, Karen Finley, Linda Weintraub and Martha Wilson are willing to discuss my work at this launching of the archive.
 STAGE 7: My pen honestly weeps as I am reminded that it is unable, space wise, to mention in print here or in my video-presentation, every single name of:  friends, supporters, curators, inspirers, parents, my dog Betty, collaborators, editors, students, teachers, photographers, my name when I was a nun,  advisers, publishers, lovers and the 43 thousand guides who co-created me.
My wish is that everything in my archive serve as a recipe or prompt or inspiration or goad or opportunity for dialogue.
In Art/Life,
Linda Mary Montano

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