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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

LINDA MARY MONTANO AS A CLASS & LIVING SCULPTURE



LINDA MARY MONTANO: AS A CLASS & LIVING SCULPTURE

A concept that can be adapted to your situation, site and interpretation.


This class is dedicated to the life-work of performance artist Montano who began her career as a sculptor and considers herself to be a LIVING SCULPTURE.

Students will dissect Montano's life and art from many sculptural vantage points:

1. HER BOOKS: ART IN EVERYDAY LIFE; PERFORMANCE ARTISTS TALKING IN THE 80'S; MILDRED'S DEATH; LETTERS FROM LINDA MARY MONTANO; UPDATED ART IN EVERYDAY LIFE titled; YOU TOO ARE A PERFORMANCE ARTIST.

2. HER WEBSITE: WWW.LINDAMONTANO.COM

3. HER BLOG: LINDA MONTANO BLOG

4. HER 30 VIDEOS: YOU TUBE

All of this research will prepare the students to curate and prepare a retrospective of Montano's past present and future sculpture and see it's interdependence with her performances and videos.


Some students will scan past slides and negatives of Montano's sculptures.
Some will learn how to ship existing works to the site of the sculpture retrospective.

Some will study in depth 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART and will research the video SHHH on You Tube, by Montano and learn how to present this performative installation (sculpture ) in the gallery.
Some will curate the placement and historical evolution of the work.
Some will prepare an extensive catalogue with essays about Montano's sculpture and how her philosophy, vision and spiritual message is inherent in this work which posits the ephemerality of the non-ephemeral and its relation to her performances.
Some will re-create and build past sculptures: (1.THE MFA CHICKEN SHOW; 2.THE CHICKEN/ANGEL BED, 3.ROOM WHERE I LIVED FOR 5 DAYS AS 5 PEOPLE AND MAYBE RE-ENACTING THAT, 4.HYPNOSIS/DREAM/SLEEP INSTALLATION; 5. ART/LIFE COUNSELING ROOM AND MAYBE RE-ENACT THAT; 6. TREADMILL STORY OF MY LIFE; 7. CHICKEN DANCE AND SITTING WITH MANEQUIN)
Some will place the images, essays and their own processes online as a blog, therby outlining the practice of getting to know an artist , studying this artist intensely and then presenting this artist's work (sculpture) as a class project.
Some will curate vitrines of objects from performances, small sculptures and ceramic sculptures.

The professor will write the introduction to the catalogue and oversee this entire process.

Montano will be available for Skype conferencing and workshops throughout the process.

lindamontano@hotmail.com

Thursday, January 10, 2013

HEART PINATA PROJECT






HEART PINATA PROJECT : ART IN EVERYDAY LIFE



Pinatas, birthdays and celebrations are traditions that bring joy and memories of celebration.



This project will bring together this everyday life mode of expression plus add a new element because the messages inside the piñata will be:
CREATED BY THE PEOPLE MAKING THE PINATA.

The messages inside the piñata reference love and helping and positive suggestions of encouragement instead of candy and toys. Typically, piñatas are made by others and contain things others think we want but these pinatas will be made by hand and with intentionality in the shape of hearts and inside the hearts are heart-felt positive messages and suggestions.

EXAMPLES OF SUGGESTIONS: All suggestions will be monitored and edited by the event coordinator so that only possible and positive words are shared. They are in fortune-cookie format and might say, for example: BE KIND TO YOUR BODY. LEARN A NEW WORD THIS WEEK. DO A FAVOR FOR A FRIEND.

NOTE: THE SUGGESTIONS MUST, MUST, MUST BE EDITED BY THE PERSON IN CHARGE OF THIS PROJECT BECAUSE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SO SUGGESTIBLE AND MUST NOT BE LED IN DANGEROUS DIRECTIONS. AND MAYBE IT CAN JUST BE A LIST OF POSITIVE ONE WORD SUGGESTIONS. FOR EXAMPLE:
 JOY;
PEACE;
COMPASSION;
 LOVE;
HARMONY;
 SHARE;
 FORGIVE;
 GRATITUDE;
SMILE;
ETC.
 In fact, I do lean toward this mode of communication because of the possible consequences of someone getting a suggestion that might be bothersome and misleading and troubling. Your comments are welcomed regarding this issue.

Why a heart? Hearts are not to be broken but when they are "hit", they are symbolically to be urged to be expressing love and care.

We live in a time of LOVE challenge and with this energetic and strong witness to COMPASSION, we hope to open a new window to positive possibilities.

LINDA MARY MONTANO 2013

LINDA MARY MONTANO AND THE HISTORY OF HER WORK WITH PERSONA

LINDA MARY MONTANO & THE HISTORY OF HER WORK WITH PERSONA




Probably my interest in being another started at age 6 when I acted out as THE VIRGIN MARY, gving out Necco wafers as substitutes for Holy Communion to neighbor friends. I insisted they kneel, and as the chief officiant, I most likely really wanted to be a male-priest but alas was born a woman so I took the next best option and became Jesus's Mother!



But artistically and formally, I began a formal persona practice in 1976 when I sat in front of a video camera (VHS) and talked to it as 7 different fictional people, wanting to be someone other than myself having just survived a painful divorce and a move to a differnt city in Califormia. I called this work CREATIVE SCHIZOPHRENIA because it allowed me to get out of me and into another, albeit all of the personas were successful and charming and smart and totally fabulous. I wans't feeling fabulous or any of those things. I called the video LEARNING TO TALK, since conversing was never my strong suite and schmoozing a verboten and disdained/harshly judged absurdity! So I tlaked, let other voices make me a new me and I healed via my art!



Although I do not embrace past lives as a personal option, I was once interviewed by a critic and I answered the questions in the voice of one of my personas, THE FRENCH POET. The experience was quite shattering because I had flashbacks, as her, and remembered living in France during a war, so maybe I was really being the old/past/reincarnated me when I took on the voices of the other 6 "people" in my tape: the nun, country western singer, karate black belt, doctor, jazz singer, hula dancer?



Over the years I performed as these fictional "people" many times and then 30 years later I began performing as LIVE PEOPLE; specifically Bob Dylan, Paul McMahon, Hillary Clinton, Jill Johnston and Mother Teresa. On analysis I thought it strange that I needed a new alive or once living mentor and model to base my projected personality onto so that i could learn new lessons but it was obvious that I was getting closer to the real me becaue all of this practice was really about a deep spiritual journey to the answer of the spiritual question, WHO AM I? as articulated by my teacher and Guru, Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, founder of Ananda Ashram.



Psychologists deliver the message that we are the product of home, religion, culture, traumas, joys and proclivities. Neurologists posit that too much left brain action cements us into the world of matter and Jill Bolte Taylor who is a neurobiologist and suffered a left brained stroke, was catapulted into a right brained love ecstasy, reminding us that we are the product of our neurobiology and whatever brain quadrant we are accessing.



Conversely, theologians of both the East and West remind us that we are not the body and mind, and Christians say, "It is not I that lives, but Christ who lives in me." Hindu meditators get to this rapture of Christ Consciousness via focused attentional meditation.



My art has always been a map for my life and I know that I have to listen to what I am doing to find out what I am thinking. And I must say that I must be thinking that ,"It is not I that lives but Christ who lives in me," because that is the logical next step in my progress of being first: Linda, then Linda as fictional others, then Linda as living/once alive others, to Linda as ONE LOVE.



I can't wait!!!



THE STORY OF CHICKEN LINDA 1969-PRESENT












THE STORY OF CHICKEN LINDA: 1969-PRESENT LINDA MARY MONTANO 2005



BACKSTORY



Is it possible that because my father's name is Henry ( Hen ) and that I remember the urban non-legend that he filled his mother's kitchen with live chickens in retaliation for her not letting him go to the movies back in 1920, the reason that I became the Chicken Woman? Like father, like daughter?



Is it possible that my mother's glass chicken collection that grew expodentially since they were chatkas that she collected so influenced my psyche, that I wanted to be included in my mother's love-collection and became the Chicken Woman instead? Love me Mom!



ART STORY



From 1966-1969, I was an MFA candidate in sculpture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, during the terribly strict and cold minimal art reign where there were only two other women grads catapulting off of the energy of sweaty big boys who were making highly ordered and large-scaled metal, plastic and quonset hut sized atrocities that were souless and had nothing to do with anything but stuff and ideas and galleries! It was not girl time or feminist art time or Womans Building time. It was about the boys and of course there were no female professors so I was not surprised when I was assigned four cowboy-swashbuckler professors who smelled of even sweatier sweat and cowboy boots and beer and quiet no-language which totally suited my cowgirl heart. And to fill out the cowgirl-cowboy fantasy, I was enthralled when I discovered that UMW had an agricultural component to their campus, so I was able to freely and daily find solace in my visits to animals and there I found a refuge and escape from minimalist hubris!



So one Wisconsin day the four cowboy professors/committee members came clunking into my studio and asked, "Linda what are you going to do for your MFA show?" And out of my mouth, not out of my mind came the word, "Chickens!!" I was elated and freed from metal, plastic and size! I was free to be free and follow the voice that came from not me but from someplace else that was larger than me! Then the chicken story and saga began in full force and I made a series of hand tinted photos of chickens that I might still be able to find in my archive; I made sound tapes of chickens, rented a loudspeaker for the top of my car and rode around Madison playing chicken clucks; I put a telephone answering service on my phone with a chicken message; I vacumm formed once clayed chicken theigh replicas which were 2x4 feet, and hung them on the wall near the windows facing the chickens on the roof; I made three 20 feet by 10 feet chicken cages and placed them on the roof of the new art building with 9 chickens in chance operated formations of one day 3 in cage 1 and 6 in cage 3 thereby speaking to and addressing my alliance with the minimilaist-boys and their sensibilty of "large"....but most importantly, I relieved myself of the need to ever again do art about art! I was free and freed by CHICKENS AS SCULPTURE!



What I found out was that chickens were metaphoring me! Chickens were skittish, fearfull, not touchable, strange, focused, always working the program, not social, pecking fast with beaks, and seemd to be extremely ZENISH in their attitude to life! A perfect fit for my personal style. And I loved that they were supposedly once the dinosaur minituraized and cast down in size from the giant of the jungle to the strange bird but always with the thought inside their small brains that they were once mighty! Also chickens in Hindu mythology symbolize death and dawn....The beginning and the end. That works for me.



What happened to the chickens? Three chicken stories: after the show I gave them to the art department janitor and he started a farm and before that, during my show, I didnt fight the system or my cowboy-committee so when they wanted; "THOSE CHICKENS OFF THE ROOF"' I allowed them to be moved from their cages when the UWM donors toured the new art building becaue the administration feared that the chickens might cause scandal and encourage the donors to de-fund the million dollar department, a fortune for 1969! The power of the chicken!

And in 1981 I printed my first book,ART INEVERYDAY LIFE, which included many chicken stories that "run" throughout the pages.



What happened to me? Besides learning how to be me after my MFA, I began studying meditation, met my husband to be and after showing dead chickens from a supermarket in a gallery installation in Rochester NY,1980, I got the message that it was time to STOP!

My husband and I began performing as white leghorns without beaks, with wings and instead of duplicating frantic chicken-like actions, we lay as "angels" and a few years later, I sat and danced and the whole entire San Francisco story of Chicken Woman came to LIFE. See www.lindamontano.com for more.





CHICKEN WOMAN IS ALIVE AND WELL



I have always continued to draw my totem with great joy and harbinger dawn.

THE PERFORMANCE OF SLOW: EXPANDED VERSION


THE PERFORMANCE OF SLOW



Can you imagine having a chance to slow down for an hour? Elders do this naturally because they are WISE! But even if we are elders, we can re-inforce this wisdom with a practice of awareness of exactitude and mindfulness well known in Eastern theologies as Paying Attention with love to one thing at a time.



This workshop will allow us to practice this focused awareness as a group and as a result learn from each other and support each other in this wisdom.



OUTLINE OF THE CLASS:



1. SLOW MOTION MOVEMENT AND STRETCHING: THE BODY



As soon as participants enter the space, they will be encouraged to experience a new level of silence and peace via a 15 minute directed movement and slow motion practice. Stretching, moving, breathing using freely self-chosen faux-tai chi movements, produces physiological results which effect heart rate, metabolic rate, neurological firings and mood. Of course these movements can be performed sitting as well as standing but doing them slowly and WITH FEELING is the most important instruction which will be given and demonstrated by the instructor. Nature sounds on tape will support the mood of relaxation.



Our bodies are usually driven by speed, worry and inner memories which need to be vacationed by a practice of letting go and this class will mentor an easy, simple, non-agressive form of simply "letting go" which can then be utilized in daily life and in daily activites.





2. GUIDED VISUALIZATION: THE MIND



For 15 minutes we will travel via a guided visualization through the incredible galaxy of the body and it's glands, nervous system, bones, muscles and the brain. Suggestions are made that we invite ease and comfort and peace and gratitude to be felt and experienced and remembered so that we have a chance to move from the tv world, the global warming world, the foreclosure world, the technological world for a time. This gives space and clarity and expansive to the mind and heart and allows for an appreciation of our bodies and minds.





3. SILENT SITTING: THE SPIRIT



For 10-15 minutes, after a brief introduction of focusing practices (use a repeated sacred word; feel the breath at the nostrils; inhale peace, exhale peace; count the breaths) each person will choose one of the practices and we will sit for a short time, experiencing this way of being totally AT-ONE.







4. SILENT GESTURE: PERFORMING LOVE SLOWLY



Each person will then stand and perform one gesture, in slow motion and in silence, that is an expression of inner self-love, self gratitude and self joy. This expression of THE PERFORMANCE OF SLOW is optional and performed only if the participant is comfortable sharing their inner creativity with others in this way.



LINDA MARY MONTANO



Friday, January 4, 2013

IS ART/LIFE COUNSELING HEALING OR OVERPOWERING








IS ART/LIFE COUNSELING HEALING OR OVERPOWERING?

BACKSTORY


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 my blog: LINDA MONTANO BLOG,
or in my book: LETTERS FROM LINDA M MONTANO, Routledge.

 


ORIGINS OF ART/LIFE COUNSELING

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?


WHAT IS ART/LIFE COUNSELING?

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.


THE RESULTS OF ART/LIFE COUNSELING

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.


THE CONTINUATION OF ART/LIFE COUNSELING

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!


CHANGES IN ART/LIFE COUNSELING

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?"
POWER IS DYNAMITE. LOVE IS THE BALM OF GILEAD.
More love,
Linda Mary Montano 2013.

LINDA MARY MONTANO AS MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA




LINDA MARY MONTANO AS MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA Jan, 2012




BACKSTORY

About 5 years ago, 2008, I was extremely incapacitated with cervical dystonia which twisted my body and at times reduced my posture to an almost head to knee position. http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

It was extremely exhausting and frustrating to be so handicapped and I was embarassed by the loss of my posture and looks and youth.

One day while experiencing this condition a voice came to me inside my head: " Linda, you look just like Mother Threresa."
Mother was bent, face lined with interior and exterior pain, plus she seemd serious and in suffering! That was me in a nutshell.

Having performed as many different fantasy and imagined people since 1975, I thought, why not be a living person, why not be Mother Teresa. Actually my Bob Dylan impersonation had preceeded
Mother so having had a real-person precedent I knew I could attempt the impossibe and try to resemble Mother Teresa.
Also, as a good Catholic girl, I was taught to never not use suffering as a vehicle for attentional/spiritual growth! Not for pity-party attention-getting!

The stage was set, wheels were in motion and I asked artist, Diane Teramana, to videotape me in her yard and video genius extrordinaire Tobe Carey, then made a film from Diane's footage.
In this now free you tube film, I walked slowly and reverently, carried a "child-doll", and looked holy and bent over. Check it out for yourself on the internet. http://youtu.be/cVPkiN-LYpA

 
INTENTION


My intention has never been irony or comedy but a borrowing of her persona to learn and practice a level of compassion and service that only she was ever capable of.
It is unimatatable/unmatchable and there will always be only one MOTHER TERESA.

But what worked is that by osmosis, I felt a spirit of "seva" (loving kindness and service to all) that I was able to then duplicate in small ways in my daily life.
Putting on her persona was like going to the Mother Teresa: School for the Selfish.
 
 
 
APPEARANCES AS MOTHER TERESA

I appeared at a senior citizen retreat for Catholics as a premier. ( They had been on a week retreat and actually were so blissed out that they truly really thought I was her!)
Tobe and I had made a one hour compilation of Mother's life with images of her and stories by her. I "mimed" in front of the video and "blessed" each member of the senior citizen audience with water and my hands and a smile. This non-performance (I call it PRAYER everytime I appear as Mother Teresa) was extremely effective, not ironical, not comical, not a spoof, not a comment on performance art or me or nuns or anything but the SPIRIT OF BLESSING, THE SPIRIT OF HEALING, THE SPIRIT OF COMPASSION , in action. A reality show?

As a praticipant in this imitation, I was ejected from ego-mind, ego mode, ego hubris and felt/ecperienced exactly what those present experienced.
That is, I felt the ecstasy that comes from the suspension of disbelief and the ability to mystically cultivate an attitude of right brained unconditionally love, as life!
( Art had taken a back seat to the reality of felt compassion.)

I then brought this experience to a Catholic women's Rosary society, and some years later, to NYC where my "persona" gave Pauline Oliveros an award at Columbia University. Again all present
were in silence at the way I totally appromximated/duplicated Mother Teresa and what was interesting is that the usual jealousy, upsetness that can happen when one of us shines brighter than the others, was not there because Linda, the artist, was hidden inside the costume and no-one even assocaited me with the "appearance" once I was out of  costume!
  Mother came and when my costume was packed in my suitcase, Mother was gone. My hand was not shaken and that was good and ok.
 
I therby avoided the greedy-envy that comes from fame being afforded one special person and not everyone. I had hidden inside the costume and everyone loved Mother and didnt feel embittered by my excellence!
 A good foil when jealousy comes flying your way!

And then a public street-side entrance: When the Empire State Building was not given permission to be lit in blue and white for Mother's 100th birthday, (politics ) I was inwardly called to go to
NYC for 3 days and be there AS HER along with 4 women guardians/guards/policewoman performance artists who officially accompanied me and "protected" me and gave my presence credence. http://youtu.be/h0m25kyw33g
My gratitude to artist Mark Shaw for his incredible video document and for the fierce beauty of the four Guardians: Andrea Dominquez, Miss Toni Silver, Zhenesse Heinemann and Leah Aron.


Again this was not comedic theatre, not a joke, nothing to laugh at but an opportunity to participate in a suspension of belief and a chance for those walking by the ESB, to come up to "Mother"
for a word, a blessing, a hug, a hope. I was at the ESB for 3 days, 3 hours each day and the performance took on an attitude of endurance and reliable re-presence.
 
One or two fundamentalist "Catholics" commented, were displeased with me and said I was not doing the right thing in imitating this saint and I'm sure they meant I was sinning big time.
I was not! I was participating in a true compassion-fest!

 
MY CONTINUATION OF THIS "PRAYER-PERFORMANCE" OF SEVA

My mentor and guide, Dr Aruna Mehta, had given me the sari which I altered by sewing blue cloth on it to look like a Missionary of Charity nun's habit. For years, Mrs. Mehta's teachings to me about serving and seva will be articulated and duplicated via this (performance), experience. She and her husband were dedicated to the reality and concept of "service" and my 19 years as their adopted daughter, prepared me for this practice of the art of service as art and life. http://youtu.be/mSnHvOWLRgE

Will I do it forever? Will it evolve into something else? Will the MOTHER TERESA nuns who gave me permission to "be" Mother, take away the permission some day? Will arrogance and fame set in and spoil the whole mix?
These questions I ask myself and because it is a "prayer", I resolve to stay tuned to the progress of this performace via everyday prayer so then I will know when to not be Mother whenever I hear the message to stop!
Then and only then, I will know when NOT to go to a site as her, I will know when I am not respecting her legacy and image and beauty. Then I cease and desist.
Mother Theresa, may I never, ever jeapordize the delicacy of this appearance with the vagaries of fame, fortune, hubris or pride.

Your student, Linda