SLEEPATHON: RAPID PULSE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL, CHICAGO
SLEEPATHON is an overnight experience by LINDA MARY MONTANO for RAPID PULSE 2016 taking place at DEFIBRILLATOR GALLERY, 1463 W CHICAGO AVENUE, CHICAGO, USA, on SUNDAY 05 JUNE 2016.
DESCRIPTION | Embracing a workshop format, participants will sleep together in the gallery as a work of art by Linda Mary Montano. Attempting to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, Montano continues to actively explore her art/life through shared experience, role adoption, and intricate life altering ceremonies. The SLEEPATHON is preceded by a GLANDATHON, an interactive laughathon/cryathon experience for everyone featuring exercises that focus on a single gland in the human body, encouraged by 3 minutes of Montano’s videos.
LINDA MARY MONTANO: SEEKS 7 VOLUNTEER LOVE-ETTES FOR HER SUNDAY NIGHT INTERACTIVE LECTURE AT RAPID PULSE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL.I NEED 7 PEOPLE(NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY)TO HELP LEAD AUDIENCE IN SOUND MAKING/GESTURES DURING MY LECTURE SUNDAY NIGHT….
VVIIDEO LIST: RAPID PULSEVIDEO LIST RAPID PULSE1. AS PEOPLE ENTER: MOTHER TERESA 100TH BDAY2. INTRO AND DANCE: CHICKENARAMA3. GLAND 1: INTIMACY…PRIMAL SCENES4. GLAND 2: SECUIRTY…. BOB DYLAN5. GLAND 3: COURAGE:&nbs…
LECTURE: RAPID PULSE ; INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART FESTIVAL, CHICAGOWhat a wonderful opportunity to participate in this festival and meet colleagues, artists/ lifeists. Let’s give a standing ovation/applause to Giana and Joseph, the c…
LINDA MARY MONTANO is REBORNLinda WeintraubLinda Montano did not wait to die to be reborn. The story of her entry into grace coincided with her father’s physical decline, illness, infirmity, and death.In 2004, I visited Linda, who had returned to the Hudson Valley, where I live, six years earlier. At the time, neither she nor I considered this a professional visit related to our respective art careers. We two Lindas were simply getting together as friends. But, in the subsequent years, our get-together was re-categorized as a “studio visit,” our conversation was reclassified as an “interview,” and the interactions I observed on that day endure as a culminating artwork of her distinguished career.Six years before, Linda yielded to the beckoning of internal voices beseeching her to return home to Saugerties to care for her aging father. The time had arrived for them both to prepare for the inevitability of his death. All I knew about Dad can be summarized as follows: Italian ancestry, Americanized, musician, businessman, devout Catholic.I entered the house midday. Outside it was hot, sunny, and noisy, but the curtained space inside was dark and unnaturally quiet. Mementos and stacks of papers were piled on every surface. The carpets were imprinted with the footsteps of former occupants, pillows were shaped by their bodies, and furniture was marked by their repeated gestures. I remember thinking that this must be how the past tense looks and feels.
By the time I walked back out into the summer glare, my impression had not only been revised, it was reversed. Linda and her father had not renounced themselves to the past. Indeed, they were not merely anticipating a future event: they were training for it. For six years and six months they had been making preparations to sanctify Dad’s passage from life to death, which occurred six months after this visit.The first four years of this seven-year work of art might be described as a tender prelude. Linda drove her Dad to visit doctors, wrote his checks, played music with him, took photographs of him, and made videos with him, which is how an extensive and enchanting record of the mutuality of their daily activities came into being. They reveal an intimacy between daughter and Dad that transformed the common place into an inspired space. This prelude ended in 2001 when Dad suffered a stroke and Linda became his full-time caregiver. That is when her ministrations became eligible for inclusion in all future accountings of Linda Montano’s art career.
During my visit, Dad awoke from a nap. Linda fetched him. He appeared in a wheel chair, neatly dressed, combed, and shaved. Linda maneuvered him into kitchen. I followed. She tied a bib around his neck, took a container of yogurt from the refrigerator, and spoon-fed him his mid-day snack. I imagined her performing such tedious tasks, day-by-day, month-by-month, year-after-year. But Linda was not dispirited, and Dad was not pitiable. The intimacy of their exchange transformed drudgery into delight. Each was a benefactor and each a beneficiary.
Linda explained that the piles of papers heaped everywhere were charts, statements, and records documenting Dad’s diet, baths, sleeping patterns, and the condition of his teeth, bowels, and skin condition. Comments from nurses were notated alongside Linda’s observations of his miniscule actions. But it would be wrong to assume that this was a sorrowful record of unremitting degeneration at the waning of a life. These documents also offered evidence of unleashing of Dad’s creativity. The papers included the watercolors he had made, one each day, before and after he suffered a stroke. Although Dad had never before painted, he achieved the spare spontaneity of a Zen master’s calligraphy. The marks left by each journey of his brush across the page transcended representation and expression. They are tiny, eloquent epiphanies.
After Dad finished his snack and his bib was removed, Linda wheeled him to a side table that was arrayed with brushes, paper, and paints. She dipped a brush in the paint, placed it in his trembling hand, and guided it to so that it was suspended over the bare sheet of 8 ½ x 11 paper she had laid before him. He did not move. Time came to a halt. She waited. We waited. Then, with intense concentration, his hand stirred and a single line of spare and stirring beauty gradually appeared on the page. He stopped. He was finished. No expression. No words. No gesture. He had poured all the capacities he had lost into this painted line.Dad’s spirit was flourishing even as his body faltered. The watercolors are evidence of the extraordinary convergence of creative vitality at the brink of death. Linda believes they unleash the soulfulness he had cultivated during his life-long spiritual practice in the Catholic Church. “My father is Italian and Catholic, yet strangely his quality is Zen-like. He is half way between life and death. The payoff for his surrender is pure beauty. Beauty is a vibrational frequency, a brain wave.”1
Dad finished. Linda glowed, not like a proud mother, but in the manner of someone who had just observed a miracle. “Bliss” and “ecstasy” are the words she chooses to describe this period in her life, and they were written on her face. She and her father were experiencing synchronous spiritual awakenings. Neither had waited to die to be reborn.Linda didn’t apply the word “art” to her care-giving devotions until after Dad died. Now they comprise another formidable artwork in which her father is the subject, muse, inspiration, and collaborator. As such, my observations on that day are ripe for art analysis. Dad Art takes three forms. First, there are the watercolors that mark the creative finale of Dad and daughter’s life together. Dad Art is also a film that combines pre and post-stroke footage, and serves as an enduring memorial of familial devotion. For the four years that preceded Dad’s stroke, he and Linda videotaped each other having breakfast, watching TV, and making music. Linda explains that the camera enabled Dad to communicate as he declined. After his stroke, Linda retained her position behind the camera because, she said, it helped her manage her emotions. She couldn’t watch him suffer. Thus, over the course of two-hours, viewers are invited to witness Dad being fed, bathed, driven to the hospital, and dying. The film then presents him dead and in the morgue. It ends with his burial. The shots are grainy, over or under exposed, uncomposed. She explains, “The film is really a memorial, not art cinema.”Dad Art is also a three-hour, participatory staged event in which the film is projected while Linda sits at a piano and sings, in a sweet soprano voice, her father’s favorite love songs from the thirties and forties. When I saw this work performed at the University of New Mexico in 2009, Montano led seven student volunteers, who were referred to as “secretaries,” to chairs scattered across the stage. Audience members were invited to take a seat across from them to dictate letters to the dead and receive grief counseling. Their exchanges were inaudible to observers, but gestures and postures sufficed to convey their sorrow. However, communal grieving was not the finale of this work. As the film proceeded to Dad’s death and burial, audience members and their secretaries danced together. Then they formed a procession outdoors where the papers on which their sorrows were inscribed were placed in a metal bowl and burned. An orange and red flag was waved. The healing was complete.Montano comments, “I felt that all my art had led up to the piece with my Dad. Everything I had ever done, everything I learned, everything I ever studied, was a prelude to being with my father in his last seven years. And now I’m undoing and re-seeing and fixing and healing.” In order to establish Dad Art’s culminating role in the trajectory of her long career, Montano differentiates it from her earlier Art / Life series because it does not invest life with aesthetic and symbolic significance. It certainly is not Art / Art because it is not an aesthetic object presented to the public as a commodity. Instead, she refers to Dad Art as Life / Art which “only happens within an atmosphere of prayer.” Life / Art is sanctified by ritual. It transcends the material world. It even transcends art.Dad Art becomes transcendent by “unperforming” since performance art has been superseded by technologies that democratize the creation of images and events that were once the exclusive province of artists. Now, the public orchestrates its own flash mobs and produces its own selfies and YouTubes. Montano explains, “The real is not so much celebrated but narcissistically porned.” Dad Art is an antidote to narcissistic porn. “We (artists) have to back off, back out, direct them, allow them. We have to find a new way to solve the riddles of dark and light.” Montano’s manner of addressing such riddles is a radical departure from mediated hype. She explains, “The soul is quite simple. It wants passionate gentleness.”Because Dad Art cultivates true passion and compassion, Dad Art differs from the Art/Life Counseling projects Montano conducted during the preceding thirty years. She no longer felt the need to embody the persona of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Bob Dylan, or Paul McMahon, or uses costumes and masks to assume their appearances, or mimics their gestures and lip synchs their music. She discards such disguises to confront “the challenge to be present and authentic.” In Dad Art, Linda Montano performs as Linda Montano, not fictional others, or living others, or once alive others. She describes her new role as “Linda as ONE LOVE.” 2Becoming, “one love” diverts Montano’s artistic intention away from the security of supervision and into the precarious territory of surrender. “For the first time, I am not in control. I am fascinated by having to learn a new role as I’ve had to recycle my art statement from one of controlling time to one of relinquishing time. I have no idea when this performance will change. Time is gone from my art statement. I’m at the mercy of space because I’m committed to make Dad Art as long as I receive the message. I am here in obedience to the voices, to this teaching.” 3While this work ostensibly documents a deep communion between father and daughter, it also reverses manifold cultural assumptions that obstruct the cultivation of “one love.” As such, Dad Art offers ways to heal the ruptures that accompany the benefits of contemporary life styles. For example, serving the needs of another is typically considered to be demeaning; Dad Art reveals that being in service can be uplifting. Labor is commonly understood to be a regrettable necessity; here, labor is a conduit for rapture. Menial tasks cease being drudgery and offer the enrichment of ritual. Physical confinement becomes an occasion to journey spiritually. Psychological endurance offers the prospect of joyful discovery. Suffering ceases to be an affliction and becomes an instigator of creativity.Perhaps the ultimate revelation offered by Dad Art is that death can be embraced as an occasion for beauty. The cultural institutions that surround death in contemporary culture stifle this possibility. Loved ones are typically sent to a hospital or a nursing home where their care is allocated to a professional who is typically more skilled at giving drugs than loving. For all these reasons, few of us are there to receive the “vibrational frequency” as a life expires. Linda Montano and Dad anticipated this consecrated transaction. They primed themselves for it. Before his stroke Dad told his daughter, “I’m not going to die until you’re perfect.”Montano shared her personal assessment of this poignant work by offering the following words. They compare her collaboration with Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh in which the two artists literally “tied the knot” on July 4, 1983 when they were bound to each other by an eight-foot length of rope, and remained tied until July 3, 1984. The ties of bondage are juxtaposed with the ties of love.“yes rope was tied by rope, …DAD ART was tied by love
rope tied by art, DAD ART tied by life
ROPE tied by public/MEDIA …DAD ART tied by private/prayer
Rope: tied by world………..DAD ART tied by DNA”
IMPERMANENCE/SUFFERING AND AN ANTIDOTE: 4 WORKSHOPS :MONTANO.
The Buddha said it all…we live, get old, maybe sick and eventually we all die. While doing so, we take our life and our impermanence very seriously, suffering when we suffer and wanting none of the complications. When it is good, we want that to stay. When bad, we run and hide. This is technically called clinging, greed, attachment. All bad. All cosmic migraines.
As artists, we are given a clean and clear art-slate, empty of the words, feelings and opinions of others…….waiting for our genius to explain/explore our unique journey. As I aged, I began “getting” the Buddha and said, “Yes, I’m getting old, sick and can see death!” And good life-artist that I am, I made art/performances/videos about what is happening to me, literally, as I speak.
This 4 minute, 4 day, 4 hour, 4 week, 4 month or 4 year workshop is a sharing of my process and invitation to others to play-life, play-impermanence, play- solution with me, as art. It is designed to be a quickie or a long term workshop-process, whatever is applicable to the site. There are 4 PHASES;
PHASE 1: OLD AGE: One of the bug-a-boos of old age is the nursing home….a place that we fear, shun, don’t want to visit or be in. A place we can smell without visiting! My thesis is, if I do it to myself, if I place myself in a fake nursing home , now, I can deflect the trauma and also REHEARSE for the time I might have to go in one. If I play-act nursing home, then it will drain the event of its poison.
In this first workshop, we will watch my video, NURSE, NURSE https://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k and then in a safe community of co-performers, we will experience the mental and physical actions/states of mind of someone in a nursing home. For example, being fed, being washed, being walked etc. We will do those things for each other, exchanging roles. GIVING/RECEIVING. In this cauldron of woken up triggers, we will take care of each other, process feelings and write so that the information can be helpful and not trauma-causing. All four workshops will be carefully tended this way. Therapeutic touch, here we come!!!!!!!!youtu.beNurse! Nurse! I find it valuable to both rehearse for the future and also to displace what might happen by getting it out of my system. Aging is a given. How…We will not only perform actions but also will be making nursing home sounds and pleadings and coughs and yells and calls to those walking down the “outside halls”; and we will be making wails of wanting and desperation and regret. We will rehearse and practice being un-masked, un-muted and heard so that a new courage can be born from the experience of our played out vulnerability. Practice makes perfect.
What would the Buddha say about old age? It is the attachment to the way things were; the firm muscles and un-cellulited thighs that creates suffering. Mourning the body’s betrayal of itself via art, is a technique that the Buddha would approve of, I’m sure
PHASE TWO: SICKNESS: Sometimes we catch it…an illness that is, and get sick. Some people never do. For me, my life events are matter for my art……So when I “caught” cervical dystonia/torticollis, I went to the drawing board and made art, a video titled, DYSTONIA, like I always do when I don’t know how to talk about what is happening, when I don’t know how to feel. https://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc My neurologist who gives me the botox shots in my neck every three months, collaborated by letting his assistant film the process. My Yoga teacher’s home-schooled son, Jonathon, read the pain “story”in this video. It is a fable which softens the horror of having a neurological chronic disease! Art is medicine and a way to distance from the clinging to the perfection of a body that never lies!
PHASE THREE: DEATH: Death, the last taboo. Our last performance. For a boomer westerner, death has always been an antiseptic and non-transparent muffling of the real. My husband was murdered, my mother faux-murdered by the AMA’s radiation burns to her entire inner-abdomen, Jesus died on the cross, Dad was injured by an incompetent PT who caused him to have a hemorrhagic stroke which he wobbled around with for 3 final years! I couldn’t escape the Grim Reaper and didn’t understand how to be or feel about him/her. In 1978, I made a video of my reaction to MITCHELL’S DEATH, in 1997 I went to Benares and recorded the burning ghats. https://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwkin In 1997 I wrote a paper for a lecture that eventually became a video titled LIVING ART, DYING ART. I was always obsessed with death and thought of it as a metaphor for my unresolved emotional unhappiness, my wanting to die, my need to bow out. Making art about death instead of Steven Kinging myself via a tragic and bloody endgame, has kept me quite busy.
In this workshop, we will explore the real aspects of dying; living wills, power of attorney, green burials. But more importantly, each participant will write an obituary and lay in state, on view, in a self-designed way and with visual accoutrements that are conversant with their need, style, safety. Would that be fake silk flowers or butterfly wings? The obituary, which can be read to the person lying-in-state by another workshop participant or recorded on iPhone, can either ditto the life of the participant and be an actual “read” or the obituary can be a big lie and have total non-credibility but be healing in it’s transformative illusion. That is, it can match their life, as-is, or it can be a look at their life as-they-would-like-it-to-have-been. Basically, an art-lie lifts the truth to a better and higher truth.Again, the Buddha applauds flowery visualization and stretchings of the truth, I’m sure.
PHASE FOUR: AN ANTIDOTE: The Buddha talks about clinging, and the mind as a dangerous trap and memory and greed and desire as the cause of suffering. His antidotes? Meditation/visualization/prayer/nature. But, as we all know, there are 49,834,635 techniques to move us out of the monster hall of mind-fame. My choice has been performance and video. In this last workshop, I will share STARVED SURVIVORS, https://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI a video I made which flowed out of a day/night dream into real time. This video references fairy tale and stream of consciousness and the underground. In the past, that is the 1970’s, I left my own life and it’s true and bizarre and scary story by getting out of my “skin” and taking on different personas. LEARNING TO TALK, and MASKS were the results of this self-therapy. I have also found that writing copious fairy tales have also been a way to re-boot, re-calibrate, re-see and re-sell my tainted autobiography to myself so that my past life choices don’t sting and hurt so much.We become re-deemable via the fairy-tale. We re-visit trauma and PTSD and fictionalize injustice and make the enemy pay. We re-purpose the neuro-chemistry of our brain, dragging sordid memories out of the depths of hell into bearable, creative dark. We look at situations, make up a struggle and then find fabulous solutions, much better than the life we are leading! And guess what????The mind loves this and gets out of the rut of it’s obsessive self-hate and runs toward the filmy, hazy, get out of jail ………light.Buddha, thanks for playing with me.Love,Linda Mary Montano. Saugerties NY 2014
If you want to sponsor a series of four of these workshops, let me know.Tobe Carey edited all videos which are free on You Tube.
THANKS LINDA AND CLAUDIA FOR INVITING THE SADHU MAN; Linda Mary Montano
“We believe in puppet theater as a wholesome and powerful language that can touch men and women and children alike, and we hope that our plays are true and are saying what has to be said, and that they add to your enjoyment and enlightment.”
I love Sadhus. Even as a child I found National Geographic photos of indigenous and holy people my favorite part of the magazine and later continued the passion by living for years in Ashrams, Zen Centers and also frequented Tibetan Buddhist Ceremonies, hoping to see the nuns and monks, hoping to be near them, hoping to learn from them, hoping to rub up against their robes so that some of their spiritual aroma would transfer to my strict Roman Catholic soul.
Why are Sadhus so wonderful? Is it because they seem connected differently, more naturally, more assuredly, more innocently to the Beyond? Are they from some planetary place that I have never visited? All I know is that I wanted out of Western Culture and catapulted myself into the Eastern world of authentic Oneness as often as possible, even surviving a trip to Benares, India and the burning ghats to film their version of old age, sickness and death. And yes, to watch Sadhus in non-magazine action. And another yes, they do things differently in India.
Even to this day I am on the lookout for Sadhus of Kumbha Mela intensity and May 13, 2016, I found one at TIME SPACE LIMITED, an art space founded/directed by Linda Mussmam, in NYC, 1973. Claudia Bruce joined Linda as co-director, 1976 and now, in their space in Hudson NY, they share their generous/prophetic vision of art/life via movies, live broadcasts, youth programs, art exhibitions, original theatre and special events.
The special event I attended brought Sadhu Peter Schumann of THE BREAD AND PUPPETT THEATRE to TSL and my internal/external drama began in their parking lot where my dream self kicked in with the mission, ” You must find him and see him.” I wanted him, I needed him , I was in search of him and when I entered the building, (I was the first audience member there), it was suggested that I visit the gallery and tour his beyond poetic prints, tour his beyond simple and intense woodcuts, tour his non-pretentious banners and books but I knew that I wanted to tour HIM! I really did want to honor the wishes of the beautiful and kind ticket taking man but I barged into the theatre itself and was standing two feet from Sadhu Peter who was sitting in row one, first seat, right at the door. Inner gasping, our faces met and there I was with the always smiling Buddha Art Man; the Sadhu whose mouth opened in repeated fish breathing gasps of eros every few minutes so that it could emit light-man; the disheveled white haired man-bun-man; the clear, dark complexioned unable to tell what planet he’s from-man; the artist as Sadhu-Man. I wanted to measure his age to my age, both of us decidedly elders. I wanted to feel the aire around the genius of someone dedicated to a life of superb, seemingly simple but totally complex and satisfying SOUL ART. I wanted to be him.
He looked up, I looked down and he said, in greeting, “Good Morning!” Things couldn’t get any better than that because it was 7PM and maybe he was committing a past life faux pas and saw me as a former /present lover who frequented his bed on a cold Vermont farm morning? Or maybe we had travelled to Indonesian temples together and met on a tour one morning in 1765 and he remembered that? I milked his ,”Good Morning” for symbols and synchronicities , finding none. But wait, maybe it was because my white haired braids and my age, 74, were a statement of radical inclusion and feminist rebellion against looking tidy and well kempt. Is that why he said, “Good Morning” at 7PM? That’s it, maybe he likes me and seeing me he lost Time!
Sitting three seats in back of him during his rest from rehearsal, I realized that I had a job: To “never take my eyes off of Peter Schumann tonight.” Following him like a detective-journalist I internally journaled how he glided and didn’t walk; I journaled that he looked like someone who had relinquished his ego; I journaled his no-need for outer applause/honors; I journaled his ability to dress down in reaction to consumerist grandiosity; I internally journaled his child-like presentation of political sins astutely accomplished by his painting brilliantly in German Expressionistic manner, on refrigerator-size cardboard, a cast of four dozen good and bad larger than life personas/characters held together by masking tape, which was exposed on the back for all to see. Nothing hidden, nothing technological, nothing complicated but totally intense, deep and symbolically archetypical.
All was disguised museum quality but used in a “hidden” way to teach truths with not a nod to galleries or Artforum. Peter has been re-configuring medieval morality plays for over 50 years, holding a stance that is timeless and pure. His co-performers, about 10 of them, are talented, limber, equally luminous and able to make the difficult appear easy/effortless in their desire to expose current powers-gone-wrong. They sang and danced the grief of now very well.
I’m pretty sure that Peter always offers art communion after his “experiences.” I imagined big hunks of Italian Bread when they announced , please come and receive a piece of bread after the show, but no, it was a very small piece of dark, probably 87 grain, non gluten free sourdough eucharist, slathered with intense aioli….a sacred reminder that ART IS GOOD CHURCH.
I left too high to find him, too frightened that I might say the wrong thing and break my mood, too ecstatic to get close to Peter. I had smelled the Sadhu and he smelled good.
Linda Mary Montano 2016“Our glorious civilization glorifies itself with what it calls high art. Puppeteers have no soul-searching trouble in that respect. What we produce has no ambition to be high art. Low art is what we make and what we want. Not the Fine Arts–the Coarse Arts are what we use.” -Peter Schumann, lecture to art students at SUNY Purchase, 1987
HOPE PERFORMANCE: LINDA MARY MONTANO WITH NICOLAS DUMIT ESTEVEZhttp://hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi/en/hidvl-profiles/item/2640-nicolas-hope
“Art / Life Counseling” with Linda Mary MontanoBlog Response by Mel DayI had an extraordinary experience with Linda Mary Montano’s ”Art / Life Counseling,” a performance piece. (Yes, the same artist who tied herself to another artist for a year.)Montano had broken her hand and so was unable to perform in person. In her stead was an installation that included a large mirror and a wooden dresser in front of it with a note on top inviting viewers to call for Art/Life Counseling. Since Montano is based in New York, she required her visitor / clients to call before 4pm.We were all busy setting up and running around to panels and performances yet I somehow arrived at the gallery space earlier than I expected on Friday. I found myself alone with the Montano’s piece, staring into the mirror: without giving myself an opportunity to think it through, I took out my phone and dialed her number. Cold-call counseling—and potentially intense personal self-disclosure—seemed risky, to say the least, and yet the possibilities of such an encounter were too intriguing to pass up.What happened next transpired over exactly 18 minutes. Montano picked up my call immediately. After an exchange of greetings, I expressed how sorry I was she had broken her hand. I asked if she had been inundated with calls and was surprised to hear that she hadn’t. (We determined the time difference played a role as the gallery space typically filled up in the evenings.) She then asked me the following four questions:1.What are the 5 most important events in your life?2.What is your “issue?” The “thing” that keeps coming up for you (or something along those lines!)3.When did this start? What is your earliest memory of this “thing/issue?”4.What was your response? How did you handle it?Then she asked me to repeat after her, word for word, her response—our peaceful pact—to this thing / issue. (Perhaps I’ll reveal her response in a future blog post. For now, I’m keeping it to myself to protect its power.)Then she sang me a song.I sat there in the hall in Roble a combination of mesmerized, fascinated, slightly embarrassed and uncomfortable—partly because I had my phone on speaker as I had forgotten my earphones—and utterly enchanted.I said thank you. We said goodbye.After we’d hung up, I wandered around Roble for awhile, startled and disoriented, as if finding my sea legs. I’d felt something shift during our call. Does this sound trite? Yet I would even go so far as to call the encounter transformative. An unexpected, clarifying, restorative soundness settled over me.I seek out this transformative and heightened human exchange with others in my own art / life, but it often seems beyond my grasp (a little too much to ask?), and is all too rare, in my own and others’ work / lives. Human communication, let alone restorative transformation, is fraught with hurdles and gets so very, very messy.I was astonished at how seemingly simple and powerful it was just then, with Linda.I wanted to send her a thank you note. Here it is.—You can also read the published piece online:
INTIMACY AT JILL McDERMID’S ROSEKILLLINDA MARY MONTANO/ INTIMACYARAMA : MEMORIES OF UNDISSOCIATIVE ONENESS PERFORMANCEARAMA1. SEND ME YOUR NAME, LINDAMONTANO@HOTMAIL.COM SAYING: I WANT TO BE INTIMATE FOR 3 HOURS WITH YOU AT ROSEKILL MEMORIA…
MEET ME AT THE MET; MONTANOMEET ME AT THE MET – A not-PerformanceIt’s over. Seven months, seven visits to NYC to meet at the Met non-performatively.THE CONCEPT:The Met is filled with treasures and icons and found beauty and forced from other cultures treasures and the history of the known universes tools and masks and ritual richness. The concept is: Performance is over and porned out and finished and tired and irrelevant and un-necessary. There is no future in it and the only way to go is backwards. The Met is retro-ically relevant and fresh and new and brilliant and tremendous in its anonymous wonders. That’s the ticket, the Met is anonymous, and everyone who made anything that is now in the Met is dead (not really), and the artists from thousands of years ago who did make things that are in the Met didn’t want to be extraordinary or famous but made healing objects and paintings and sculptures and doorposts and lintels and jewelry for the sake of beauty, for the sake of making, for the sake of transforming self and community. The Met is about the other, about the tribe and about art for the people. I needed to go there and learn from the Met.MEET ME AT THE MET:became an opportunity, not a performance. An opportunity to come together in secret, to hide in the overflow ordinariness of THE THRONGS OF PEOPLE, an opportunity to NOT PERFORM although it is akin to asking a General surgeon to meet in an emergency room on a busy Saturday night and tell the surgeon, “Don’t lift a scalpel!” For when you gather creative artists and friends in the name of no-performance, although the glee of not having to do anything but exhibit co-facetime is freeing, we DID show our happy joy to each other. And I must admit that we PLAYED a bit, roamed around the room assigned for that day, found our FAVORITE thing there, gathered the group around us and as I stated earlier, we, in sotto voce, non-performatively/fictictionally, told why WE made or curated our favorite object, painting or sculpture and in talking in Haiku-fashion about that painting or sculpture or ritual cup, we brought not only each other alive with our fantasy stories but gave the art in the Met, a new context and new reason to be seen. It was innocent and fun. No money or ARTFORUM review necessary.Seven times we did this, meeting in the red room for January, that is, the one that is colored red on the Met Map ( Asian Art); and we met in the orange room in February ( Egyptian Art) and so on. Friends and new friends came and we sometimes exchanged phone numbers of our doctors/ comforted the new widow/ prayed as a healing team for successful eye surgery for another. It was not performance but covert life, meeting underground and incognito. Without applause.MISSING:I wont miss that bus ride.But I will miss the woman at Gate 34, the Island woman who works at POA, and is always there on Sundays, blessing all with her beauty/concern/availability.I will miss walking the 40 blocks to 81 Street, through Central Park.I will miss smelling horses.I will miss face and fun time and no muss, non-durated for 2 hours time with friends.I will miss the easy endurance of this not-performance.There might be another 7 years of something.I don’t know until I know.But I do know that the inner Met-show will go on.Do you miss me?LINDA MARY MONTANO,Artist Teacher, Saugerties NY, 2016