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LINDA MARY MONTANO: RAPID PULSE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART FESTIVAL 2016: Blog: Jennie Klein

LINDA MARY MONTANO: RAPID PULSE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART FESTIVAL 2016: Blog: Jennie Klein

Linda Mary Montano: Glands and Sleep


Rapid Pulse 2016 concluded with a performance by Linda Mary Montano’s Interactionarama: Cry/Laugharama : An Interactive Lecture Honoring the 7 Glands of the Body. Montano was aided by three volunteers, who helped to facilitate the performance which  was originally meant to be divided into 7 of Montano’s video trailers which represent the 7 glands in the body: Intimacy, Security, Courage, Compassion, Communication, Intuition, and Joy. Instead of presenting 7 videos, Montano refocused her original idea after being at Rapid Pulse for a week and  she  began with her Chickenarama video of live chickens and announced in song-drone that she would  “bless” the audience, the space and  herself. Using the same format of song-drone, she called to the stage her “nurse” after letting the audience know that she was practicing the “art/life of aging.”  The nurse was a totally accurate Amy Winehouse doppleganger, a reference to Montano’s persona practice which began in 1975 and continues today with her current  Bob Dylan and Mother Teresa endurance performances. And then thebeautiful, twin love-ettes entered, teaching the audience to laugh and cry in gratitude for our glands (chakras) that work 24-7.

 On her web site, Montano has included a “wish list” under projects that includes a proposal for a two day performance Death-Athon  and Life-Athon.  The two final videos that she presented covered those two states: Montano’s My Mother: Artist and Teacher, an absolutely incredibly piece about the life and death of her mother, Mildred Montano, delivered in the same monotone chant that Montano used for her seminal performance Mitchell’s Death, a piece performed three times (once for video) in which she narrated the circumstances of the death of her husband Mitchell Payne. Montano sang-droned that we were at the heart chakra and during the video about her Mother at  Rapid Pulse, “Amy”, travelled throughout the audience with a microphone, collecting the called out  names of mothers from audience members while the two stunning love-ettes comforted Montano who was now disguised by a chicken mask; a theatrical attempt at losing her individual “self” and including all in the communal rite of healing.
After the intense depth of mother-sorrow, the mood switched drastically as Amy, and the two love-ettes swayed to  Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love, an 80’s video that looked absolutely bizarre in retrospect, but certainly stressed the importance of love. The audience thought so too and spontaneously jumped into the celebration of NOW.

Linda Montano with C.V. Peterson. Photo by Linda Montano, lifted from Linda Montano’s blog
To conclude: Interactionarama: Cry/Laugharama : An Interactive Lecture Honoring the 7 Glands of the Body was the perfect performance with which to end a Festival that was celebrating its 5th year. Montano has been performing for fifty years or so (more if you count what she considers her earliest performances as a child and a young adult). Chickens have always figured prominently in Montano’s performances. She has done performances with live chickens and dead chickens. Montano’s first performance, Chicken Woman (1972) was inspired by her MFA Show in 1969 where she exhibited live chickens in a Minimalist grid. Montano continued to perform as Chicken Woman, sometimes with her dog named Chicken. In one memorable performance she was arrested as she attempted to perform Chicken Woman on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco because the police were concerned that she might be planning to jump from the bridge.

For Montano the glands are coterminous with the chakras. One of her seminal performances, 7 Years of Living Art (1984-1993) was based on the 7 chakras/energy centers of the body. Much of what Montano has done subsequently, including 14 Years of Living Art has been influenced by this performance. Interactionarama encapsulated Montano’s career, which has included in depth explorations of love, sexuality, spirituality (Montano was a novitiate with the Maryknoll Sisters for two years–Chicken Woman is a kind of latter day nun/saint), life versus art, and death. Everything is fodder for Montano’s art which she has always used in order to explore difficult ideas such as sex, death, aging, and loss of mental and physical capabilities. Later that night Montano conducted an all-night workshop: Sleepathon/Glandathon where 15 lucky participants (who were quick enough to sign up) spent the night sleeping on cots in the gallery. The workshop included exercises in laughter and different voices, a gland-athon meditation, journal writing and sharing, and a graduation ritual the following morning. The experience, which typical of a Montano workshop pushed everyone way outside of their comfort zone in different ways, was later written up for Hyperallergic by Chicago-based writer and curator Kate Sierzputowski. It was an apt finish to the five day whirlwind of the festival, a sending off from one of the most seminal, yet humble artists, who was a pioneer of performance work. Although in her writing Montano has frequently suggested that she realized that she wasn’t “a perfect saint,” being in her presence was just as exciting as if she actually was a Catholic/Jain/Buddhist/Hindu saint. The audience member, myself included, wanted something from her–something that would leave us wiser and more fulfilled. Montano delivered.
Sleepathon/Glandathon participants including the author on cots. Photo by Kate Sierzputowski.

Linda  Mary Montano says: “Thanks to Sasha Hodges (Amy Winehouse);  Ashley Hollinghead and cv Peterson (the love-ettes) ; Maria Colon and Michelle Park ( the tech people) ; all of the mighty team and volunteers; the soup people, the photographers; Jennie Klein (blog);  Giana Gambino ( the incredible co-director); and standing applause for JOSEPH RAVENS( Director of Rapid Pulse and Defibrillator Performance Art  Gallery).”


Linda Mary Montano: Glands and Sleep


Rapid Pulse 2016 concluded with a performance by Linda Mary Montano’s Interactionarama: Cry/Laugharama : An Interactive Lecture Honoring the 7 Glands of the Body. Montano was aided by three volunteers, who helped to facilitate the performance which  was originally meant to be divided into 7 of Montano’s video trailers which represent the 7 glands in the body: Intimacy, Security, Courage, Compassion, Communication, Intuition, and Joy. Instead of presenting 7 videos, Montano refocused her original idea after being at Rapid Pulse for a week and  she  began with her Chickenarama video of live chickens and announced in song-drone that she would  “bless” the audience, the space and  herself. Using the same format of song-drone, she called to the stage her “nurse” after letting the audience know that she was practicing the “art/life of aging.”  The nurse was a totally accurate Amy Winehouse doppleganger, a reference to Montano’s persona practice which began in 1975 and continues today with her current  Bob Dylan and Mother Teresa endurance performances. And then thebeautiful, twin love-ettes entered, teaching the audience to laugh and cry in gratitude for our glands (chakras) that work 24-7.

 On her web site, Montano has included a “wish list” under projects that includes a proposal for a two day performance Death-Athon  and Life-Athon.  The two final videos that she presented covered those two states: Montano’s My Mother: Artist and Teacher, an absolutely incredibly piece about the life and death of her mother, Mildred Montano, delivered in the same monotone chant that Montano used for her seminal performance Mitchell’s Death, a piece performed three times (once for video) in which she narrated the circumstances of the death of her husband Mitchell Payne. Montano sang-droned that we were at the heart chakra and during the video about her Mother at  Rapid Pulse, “Amy”, travelled throughout the audience with a microphone, collecting the called out  names of mothers from audience members while the two stunning love-ettes comforted Montano who was now disguised by a chicken mask; a theatrical attempt at losing her individual “self” and including all in the communal rite of healing.
After the intense depth of mother-sorrow, the mood switched drastically as Amy, and the two love-ettes swayed to  Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love, an 80’s video that looked absolutely bizarre in retrospect, but certainly stressed the importance of love. The audience thought so too and spontaneously jumped into the celebration of NOW.

Linda Montano with C.V. Peterson. Photo by Linda Montano, lifted from Linda Montano’s blog
To conclude: Interactionarama: Cry/Laugharama : An Interactive Lecture Honoring the 7 Glands of the Body was the perfect performance with which to end a Festival that was celebrating its 5th year. Montano has been performing for fifty years or so (more if you count what she considers her earliest performances as a child and a young adult). Chickens have always figured prominently in Montano’s performances. She has done performances with live chickens and dead chickens. Montano’s first performance, Chicken Woman (1972) was inspired by her MFA Show in 1969 where she exhibited live chickens in a Minimalist grid. Montano continued to perform as Chicken Woman, sometimes with her dog named Chicken. In one memorable performance she was arrested as she attempted to perform Chicken Woman on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco because the police were concerned that she might be planning to jump from the bridge.

For Montano the glands are coterminous with the chakras. One of her seminal performances, 7 Years of Living Art (1984-1993) was based on the 7 chakras/energy centers of the body. Much of what Montano has done subsequently, including 14 Years of Living Art has been influenced by this performance. Interactionarama encapsulated Montano’s career, which has included in depth explorations of love, sexuality, spirituality (Montano was a novitiate with the Maryknoll Sisters for two years–Chicken Woman is a kind of latter day nun/saint), life versus art, and death. Everything is fodder for Montano’s art which she has always used in order to explore difficult ideas such as sex, death, aging, and loss of mental and physical capabilities. Later that night Montano conducted an all-night workshop: Sleepathon/Glandathon where 15 lucky participants (who were quick enough to sign up) spent the night sleeping on cots in the gallery. The workshop included exercises in laughter and different voices, a gland-athon meditation, journal writing and sharing, and a graduation ritual the following morning. The experience, which typical of a Montano workshop pushed everyone way outside of their comfort zone in different ways, was later written up for Hyperallergic by Chicago-based writer and curator Kate Sierzputowski. It was an apt finish to the five day whirlwind of the festival, a sending off from one of the most seminal, yet humble artists, who was a pioneer of performance work. Although in her writing Montano has frequently suggested that she realized that she wasn’t “a perfect saint,” being in her presence was just as exciting as if she actually was a Catholic/Jain/Buddhist/Hindu saint. The audience member, myself included, wanted something from her–something that would leave us wiser and more fulfilled. Montano delivered.
Sleepathon/Glandathon participants including the author on cots. Photo by Kate Sierzputowski.

Linda  Mary Montano says: “Thanks to Sasha Hodges (Amy Winehouse);  Ashley Hollinghead and cv Peterson (the love-ettes) ; Maria Colon and Michelle Park ( the tech people) ; all of the mighty team and volunteers; the soup people, the photographers; Jennie Klein (blog);  Giana Gambino ( the incredible co-director); and standing applause for JOSEPH RAVENS( Director of Rapid Pulse and Defibrillator Performance Art  Gallery).”