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Tuesday, April 11, 2017




Art as Therapy/The Reason I Decided to Become an Art/Life Counselor

This piece was written in response to Montano’ concern that art making had become less about fulfilling the soul and more about having an art career, making money, and getting reproduced in magazines. Never published, this piece was rediscovered by Montano several years ago in the Linda Mary Montano archives, which she was assembling in anticipation of selling them to an institution or art organization. Because of the limitations of space, this book contains less than a quarter of what is available in her archive.

I. How long can artists pour themselves into highly charged performance situations without being burned out emotionally?
Moira Roth.

Artists tend to deny the relationship of their work to therapy and subsequently to psychology, insisting that they make highly inspired, intensely complex works which link them to the history of art and aesthetic traditions. This need for professional validation is somewhat arcane because underneath the surface of each artist is a shaman, an instinctual curer and therapist who lives a life outside of and beyond social medicine. Artists have found that the best way to direct their energies, learn hidden information about themselves and face hidden fears is to pursue the relationships of space, form, color, texture, size, mass and directional in an obsessive way.  Instead of brooding about what is wrong in their lives, artists are trained to use problems as material for their work since work diverts anxiety, fear and worry into artistic expression. Even though the art practice on some levels serves this therapeutic purpose, most artists disregard the connection between themselves and the practice of psychology.

II. Do more. Try to tickle something inside you, your ‘weird humor.’ You belong in the most secret part of you. Don't worry about cool make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you feel fear, make it work for you. Draw and paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as ‘To decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistent approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end.’ You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to do. Les Levine to Eva Hesse.

Why do artists deny their connection with psychology? Is it because art history refuses to talk about the reasons for creating?  Most art history classes and books stress space relationships, composition and the school that the artist imitates or begins. Sources aren't considered, formulas and technologies are. The only hint that art students have that the artist is concerned about the therapeutic nature of work and ideas is a reference to Van Gogh’s missing ear and the movie about Van Gogh’s life called Lust For Life. If the reasons for creating were more readily discussed among artists in art schools or by art historians, then eventually art making would radically change.

III. What I am doing now might not be a peak of matured painting; but they are good, follow an idea, and they are the work of a young, active, developing painter. Only painting can now see me through and I must see it through. It is totally interdependent with my ambitions and frustrations. It is what I have found through which I express myself, my growth, and channel my development, within its scope I can develop strength and conviction.
Eva Hesse

The attitude toward the artistic process began to change in the late 60's. Conceptual Art, Body Art and feminist art introduced the "New Way" which de-emphasized traditional classical values and technical virtuosity. Focus was now on feelings, interior need and the total process of the artist, not just his/her technical virtuosity .In fact, artists working in these new areas were less concerned with are and more involved in personal initiations, psychological transformations and group therapy. They hardly touched brushes, paints of sculptural material. Instead ideas, bodies and psyches were formed, molded and aesthetically examined.

IV. It seems ironic that Fox has been categorized as a ‘Body Artist’ when in fact the focus of his art is escape from the confines of the body. Fox has explored in his work an astonishing number and variety of means of evading or rising above the limitations of body or corporeality: energy transformations and transferences, sleep and dreaming, levitation, reincarnation, music, fasting, religious chants, mantras, melting, dissolving (wax, liquid, smoke, dust) hypnosis, automatic writing and accident, hallucination. Brenda Richardson about Terry Fox

It is relevant to look at some of the reasons for this emphasis on the person and process rather than the object. Actually artists were doing what they always do, mirroring the social fabric which was slowly unweaving. As a result there were lot of loose ends in the late 60's, a senseless war in Vietnam, breakdown of authoritarian structures sexual revolution, drugs, re-evaluation of the nuclear family, the women's movement, spiritual movement and many other hidden factors for change. Conceptual art and Body art grew out of and psychically foretold these social issues.

V. Powerlessness and lack of self affirmation led to aggression as repeatedly asserted by psychologists and psychiatrists. Psychological powerlessness is the result of past events but institutional and cultural powerlessness are here and now.
Edward T Hall

My own response to the chaos of the late 60"s was chickens! I substituted them for sculptures that I could have made and presented them in an art context. And in 1971, I literally became the "Chicken Woman,” appearing in public places as a living statue dressed in my Chicken Woman habit. In retrospect, it seems that most of the work had a therapeutic reason but was always couched in the language of sculpture. My insistence on belonging to the art community committed me to my work but I was forced to find an individual sculptural language suitable to my needs. That was the beauty of the 60's and its source of energy, there was permission to do what you wanted to do, find a personal form based on a historical structure but do things your way. And I did! So instead of going for therapy three times a week I would blindfold myself for three days when I lost touch with who I was. Instead of learning about my early relationships with my parents from an analyst, I interviewed them repeatedly and tried unveiling the information artistically. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on therapy, I spent that much on videos, photography, making a book and insisted on doing things for myself, in my way. Solutions and findings seemed quixotic, sometimes hermetic and often humorous but I called all of it ART!

VI. Humor counts into the consciousness like a knife. It's an elegant solution, an elegant gaiety, and this can be overlooked if one’s understanding of life is not expansive enough to project beyond the personal problems and feel a kind of Homeric laughter running through the whole structure of life and natural powers.
Joseph Beuys

In order to move beyond the personal it first must be acknowledged. Feminism sanctified the personal. It challenged women to find themselves and be themselves. Performance became a valid and effective mode of discovery for some women artists. Their work generally looked a little bit like art and a lot like therapy. Hurray I say! Expertise, skill, and audience approval was not sought after. Women’s performance was about the raw and unabashed truth of the struggles of being a woman. This early work was a clear-cut case of therapy, consciously chosen as art.

VII. And what about women artists? We have seen it has only been in the last several centuries that women have been permitted to participate, and then only on an individual basis, and on male terms in the making of culture. And even so their vision had become inauthentic; they were being denied the use of the cultural mirror.
Shulamith Firestone

Even though women began expressing themselves, performance presented a problem after a few years. Everything was fine while sympathetic female audiences were there as mutual performers/supporters and part of the process. The re-enactment of eons of repression was mutually beneficial. But after some years, critical problems set in motion and spontaneity was more difficult to attain. The honeymoon of innocence was over and Feminist art began suffering the strains of time and habituation. Women were forced to entertain per usual and as a result that initial free way of working was over. Some women sought the safety of workshops and friendly small groups of mutual friends again and performed there. Other feminist artists remained public and visible.

VIII. The endurance of more art by women into the establishment is certainly good for the establishment. But it is, perhaps, less of a good thing for feminist art. One of the questions we have to answer is whether women want the same things that men have wanted, whether ‘greatness' in its present form is in factor, desirable.
Lucy Lippard

Chris Burden chose to be great in the traditional way, by doing great big newsworthy things, challenging himself and audiences with suicidal-type actions which often morally implicated everyone present, that is, if I don’t personally stop this now, he dies, but then again, art is sacred and mustn’t be "tampered with.” For years he was the public martyr whose themes were physical endurance, pain, death, risk and starvation. It all started in 1971 when he was locked into a school locker for 5 days having prepared himself by fasting and checking the project with medical authorities. He endured. A hose leading from the locker above provided water and the locker below held a jar and hose for urination.

IX. It was more like mental experience for me. To see how I would deal with the mental aspect. Like knowing that at 7:30 you're going to stand in a room and a guy is going to shoot you. I'd set up by telling a bunch of people that and that would make it happen. It was almost like setting up fate or something, in a real controlled way. The violence part wasn't really that important, it was just a crux to make all of the mental stuff happen.
Chris Burden

Out of 48 of his performances, 28 are concerned with death. The Art/Life Counselor in me asks “why does he choose such drastic measures?” Karl Menninger sees self-mutilation as a victory, albeit a costly victory, of life over death, a victory of aversion of total annihilation over the other alternative, suicide. Self-mutilation is a victory of the life-instinct over the death instinct.

X. Artaud compares his theatre to a plague: A disorder of the most horrendous type which brings with it both social and psychological disturbances.
Bettina Knapp

Is Burden cured? I prefer to think that he has successfully worked on himself. Body Art, early Feminist Art and some Conceptual Art qualifies as therapy because artists are probing places that formerly belonged to psychological realms. The new artists have been personally stretched, tested, encouraged and made aware via their work. No outside professional help is needed because other artists and friends act as co-therapists and the performance art magazine High Performance doubles as a psychological journal.

XI. I was being educated as a social activist. I had been in VISTA for a while and worked in mental hospitals. There was a strong emphasis on performance in Judy’s (Chicago) program so I was exposed to it from when I first got involved with her. So I simply turned to performance and the first pieces I did were pretty much involved with body and identity and using biological imagery, doing things like tying myself and the audience to beef kidneys.
Suzanne Lacy

And what of the 80's? How does the new wave respond to questions of life and death? Quite brashly, assertively and with a somewhat healthy cynicism. They snub nostalgia, champion an aggressive stance, brandish self-torture as paradox and glory in technological isolation. Remember, we all react to the generation that preceded us. Seventies performance artists have touched their own shadow and now are teaching and writing books about what they have discovered. We watch the next generation of performance artists to see what we really have been and look forward to new discoveries to come.

XII. As The Tibetan Book of The Dead teaches, the dying should face death not only calmly and clear mindedly and heroically but with an intellect rightly trained and rightly directed, mentally transcending, if need be, bodily infirmities as they would do if they had practiced efficiently the art of dying.
WT Evans Wentz

Performance is practice for the endgame.

UPDATE: After being tied to Tehching Hsieh in his One Year Art/Life performance for a year, I began professional therapy and now believe that art is not enough.


My Astral History 1996

This piece was originally typed and placed on the door of the Amsterdam School for New Dance for a workshop that Montano gave astrally.

Past:  About 20 years ago, as an art performance, I appeared “astrally” at Bud’s Ice Cream store in San Francisco, while living in San Diego CA, having divorced my husband and wanting to see him yet also wanting to be with my new mate.  So I used art to leave my body and go back to him symbolically and humorously. I sent announcements to him and my friends to go to Bud’s where I would “appear.”  My intention and heart were there in San Francisco but no one saw me.

Present: As art, I will appear “astrally” and seasonally (four times a year) at the Chagall Chapel, United Nations, where I have donated myself as a living sculpture. I tried getting permission to physically appear there but getting past guards and through bureaucratic red tape and intricate screenings was not possible so I am performing in this formidable institution “astrally” and “illegally.”

Future: At menopause I had to adjusting to my new body image. The physical changes and strong gravitational flesh pulls challenged me to examine death and loss. So appearing astrally became a way to practice dying and also a way to address the social invisibility that happens naturally as sexual energy transforms itself with time and age. My aging is beginning to feel like the ripening that it is. And now, I send my astral self to many events as Art. That way, I do my work on many different levels. I recommend astral appearances to anyone not wanting to do the following:
Compromise their immune system.
Breathe airplane air.
Show their cellulite legs and double chin to friends.
Think they’ve fallen in love once again while away from home.
Sleep in a strange bed belonging to a smoker.
Eat too many cheese nachos at airports.
Have a hot flash at a crowded art reception.

1 Plus 1 Equals 1 1989

This piece was written after Montano had moved from Austin, TX to Kingston, NY and re-opened THE ART/LIFE INSTITUTE. This piece, never published, is presently in the Linda Mary Montano archives.

According to my mother I was not visible when she was pregnant because I came in January and her heavy coat hid her big stomach and my presence. One story is "everyone was shocked when you were born, Linda" and after years of research into reasons why I do performance, I've decided that this uterine story might be ONE (not the only) of the plausible reasons why I have always felt a need to "shock” myself and audiences with my art. Sorry for the implication, Mom!

We are encoded at conception and have picked up attitudes and tendencies while in the womb. Behavioral scientists are realizing that. As a result, a new-ageish training course is offered to parents-to-be which prepares the whiz kid of tomorrow by sending them to pre, pre, pre-nursery school, The School of the Womb. Did I make this up? In the class the parents are encouraged to read books to the fetus through the mother's mouth, make sounds so sounds at birth won't be startling. You can imagine other permutations.

Having been born before all of that, much of my work is about mending the past. But on the other hand, early conditioning and deprivation has produced some pretty outrageous later manifestations, gestures and actions. The way that I read it, since I was somewhat "invisible" in utero, I carried over the need to be seen into my life and later made an art of it? Does this make sense?

With all due respect to my parents, I would like to illustrate how the theme of invisibility/disappearance/transcendence was first acted out in my life. Once I realized that I might as well make a career out of this propensity for the mysterious, I transferred the gift into a moneymaking vocation--OK so it isn't much, performance doesn't pay, as we all know.

Four Ways I Learned to Leave the Body in My Daily Life:

  1. As an infant I was allergic to cow milk formula and threw it up. My mother told me “It used to look like cottage cheese coming out of your mouth." Example of Objects Leaving the Body

  1. When 7 years old, I threw up breakfast all over my parents’ new wallpaper, every morning before school, and the reason was because kids were stepping on my coat in the cloakroom and I couldn't communicate this to anybody. Once I told the reason to my parents and was given a private coat hanger, I never threw up again. Example of Objects Leaving the Body

  1. When 21, while in the convent, I became anorexic and left weighing almost half my weight. Was I solving the riddle of physical transcendence but using drastic methods? Example of Experiment with Transcendence

  1. When 28, I was in a rollover car accident. I remember returning (astrally???) to my shocked body and feeling a re-entry. Example of Leaving the Body and Returning

Art, A Place Where I Practiced Disappearance With Self-designed Semblances of Safety

The above “life" examples are pre-performance ways that I solved things and asked questions. As a trained sculptor I later made objects that could appear and disappear using clay, wood, stone, metal and stuff. Eventually I collaged early childhood memories and impressions humorously and aesthetically and called the actions performance, getting rid of the  "stuff" in my work. Animals, particularly chickens, became stand-ins for me in the following performances:
  1. Animal as Self: Chickens, 1969.
I presented chickens in cages for my MFA show and saw them as a metaphor for me, hoping they would illustrate my expertise with the concept of art but also be a humorous fill-in.

  1. Self As Animal/Saint: Lying, Sitting, and Dancing As Chicken Woman, 1971-76.
    By becoming the chicken I could also be the nun/saint in disguise> By doing performance actions on the street, I was drawing to myself attention that I could not give myself and yet learning from audiences how to eventually be with ME. The endurances were short, usually 3 hours, but were training me public ally. And because I had strong internal messages to feel comfortable in poetic "disappearance", I could easily become anyone or anything, even a saint? A chicken?

  1. Self As Other: 7 Characters. 1975
By 1975, I had formalized and made the gift of being able to get out of my own way, a bit more sophisticated and with the help of southern California and it's invitation to dramatize, I resurrected in myself 7 personae, and found that I could easily act as them, perfect them, speak as them and this was much more fun and easier than being me! By then I was beginning to ask, who is the real Linda Montano?
  1. Self as One: One-Year Art/Life Performance. 1983-4.
Tehching Hsieh's art is extremely rigorous. With his performances he keeps himself focused, in danger, responsible and honorable. I joined him in his rope piece and the intensity of being tied to him with an 8-foot rope, not touching and always in the same room drove me into three directions:
  1. Into the darkness of rage and emotion that I am still in the process of sorting out with traditional/professional therapies.
  2. Whole-heartedly into the present moment because training in dangerous actions, cultivates a mind of present centeredness.
  3. Into an altered state of union with both him and everything a transcendence and indivisibility that verged on the divine.

  1. Self As Art: 7 Years of Living Art. 1984-1991.
After being tied for a year, I knew that I needed to design my own long-term project that would teach me about the possibility of art being life and life, art. Because by insuring myself that I am "in art" at all times for 7 years and that the entire universe is my studio, I have lifted the pressure to create since every minute is framed and being used creatively.

Included in the recipe that I have written for these 7 years, is an invitation for 7 well known women to "guide" me, inspire me, take care of me, and teach me. For example in year one, Joan of Arc was my guide, year two, Teresa of Avila etc. This ability to be suggestible flexible is again a trait that has a deep-seated history in my love of invisibility, shape shifting and transcendence.

Beyond Self
We come from the invisible and return to the invisible. While alive, to experience that condition of nothingness seems an appropriate dress rehearsal for the appearance of Sister Death’s visit and invitation to leave the body. Meanwhile, I practice as art.

I continued 7Years of Living Art another 7 years and it was called 14 Years of Living Art.

Endurance Then and Now 1998

This paper was first presented as Montano’s final good-bye performance at University of Texas, Austin in 1998 just before she moved back to Kingston New York.

This presentation/paper is not only about my work; it is also designed to include you the listener/reader because I will be asking you endurance questions throughout. For example: What event in your life challenged you to endure? Take a minute and review the event. Where are you now with this event? Are you in the waiting stage, feeling the emotions? (Pause) Or are you in the anger stage, confronting the event? (Pause) Or have you transformed the event, accepted it, and made art with or about it? Wherever you are, the non-defined feeling stage, the anger stage or the transforming stage, is where you are and the place you need to be.

Note: The week before Christmas, I sat by my father's bed, 24 hours a day for 6 days and nights, in an upstate NY hospital, as he recovered from disc surgery. I listened as he hallucinated from the painkillers and observed visually the woman down the hall strapped to her chair across from the nurses’ station, sounding like the female comedians from the British TV sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

Barbara was her name and she was raging, remembering past injustices from childhood, calling to God (This is not the only reason to be nice to people...they never forget any unkindness on a cellular level). I was the observer, watching it all, choosing to be there. Who was waiting in this scenario? Who was enduring? Was it art or just a case of life waiting to be magically changed into art?

I have always been interested in enduring. As a young Catholic girl, I knelt before the bloody gory Crucifix in our upstate NY church and I waited, endured the discomfort that comes from kneeling, endured the isolation that comes from choosing church over play and "fun," endured the possibility that I might not be good enough or saintly enough to go to heaven or be like Jesus. I was definitely linked to suffering, penance and the guilt fast track at a young age.

I remember how nuns would talk about Christ and how he endured the suffering of carrying the cross, how he fell down, how he was nailed to the cross, and died miserably, forgiving everyone. His endurance etched itself into my belief system. When I was seven years old, I wanted to be a saint and I thought to do that I had to suffer like Jesus. That became the plot and story line for my entire life quest.

At twenty I entered a convent, “enduring " two years as a Catholic nun, living in silence those two years except for one hour a day when we all talked together in recreation. I loved the community and dedication to a higher good and absolutely pure goal, but I left anorexic, having lost nearly 50 pounds in six months, high as a kite on endorphins. Holy anorexia? Delusions? Endurance gone amuck?

When I was introduced to art soon after, I immediately found a way to transfer religious fervor and my predilection for penance and suffering into my work, first as sculpture and then as performance art. For example, I sat for hours; lay down for hours, danced for hours in public places, asking audiences to watch me endure. Give me attention I demanded; witness my long-term commitment. And in so doing, I felt more alive as I soaked in their curiosity. It was as if I couldn't exist without them. Their presence was like a bath of recognition and approval. I wanted them to delight in my actions. Without the other's gaze, I didn’t feel anything so I learned more intricate ways to raise my own energy and get others to view me doing so. Then there would be this synergistic marriage of static electricity going on. They were in this web of my mysteries as viewer and manipulated into the role of voyeur, mid-wife to my happiness and co-creator of my art.

Some Images From That Time:

  1. Lying three hours in a bed surrounded by 12 paper maché chickens, dressed as a saint.... enduring.
  2. Sitting as a saint, in 9 places in Rochester, three hours each place, holding a home-made chicken sculpture.... enduring.
  3. Walking on a treadmill for three hours going uphill, telling my life story...enduring.
  4. Lying in view three hours with acupuncture needles in my conception vessel...enduring.
  5. Standing outside ringing a bell as a Salvation Army bell ringer.... enduring.
  6. Living 3 days handcuffed to Tom Marioni.... enduring.
  7. Living blindfolded for a week, or preparing for old age and potential blindness....  enduring.
  8. Living in a gallery room as five different people, one a day...enduring.
  9. Studying the martial arts so as to channel rage into good action...enduring.
  10. Mourning the death of my ex-husband for two years as art.... enduring.
  11. Singing a song for three hours to my husband after his death.... enduring.
  12. Camping out in many galleries, museums and art spaces, using everyday life as art.... enduring.
  13. Going to the New Museum once a month for seven years, giving Art/Life Counseling...enduring.
    14. Living for a year tied by a rope to Tehching Hsieh in his One Year Art/Life Performance…Enduring.
  14. Living for 14 years in seven different colors to honor the chakras and sacraments...enduring.

Now take some time and imagine your own performance. Create an action in your imagination that would mirror one of your life issues and see yourself enduring.
Certainly there is a psychological and Freudian view that can be seen in my work but let’s also suppose that the work is a very intuitive, shamanic, and ritualistic way that I invented to lead myself into altered states of consciousness while bringing the viewer along with me on this interior and mysterious journey.

Possibly there are many ways of viewing my intentions and I believe that sometimes there is a thin line between neurotic narcissism and tantric shamanic soul travel.
Like Catherine of Siena and many other Catholic saints and mystics, I was enamored of endurance so I could tough it out, prepare myself for the hard knocks of life, fight the good fight, bite the bullet, keep it up, go the whole nine yards, get the job done and give my all (For me? For God? That took along time to decipher).

Once I learned of Hindu yogis and their methods of achieving stillness, concentration, equanimity and inner silence, I felt in the company of kindred spirits and brother-sister travelers.

Tibetan nuns, lost/found in trance, endure rigorous/repetitive mantras, visualizations, penances, charnel ground watching, all meant to make them impervious to Himalayan cold, pain, the mind and illusions of the relative world.
These practitioners are some of my guides, helpers, teachers, mentors and inspirations on my path.

Who is your helper? See this person. Thank them. Vow to become a helper to someone else in the future.

We have looked at my background. Let's now look at some universal reasons why we all endure. Endurance is built into our system because under this skin is a galaxy of networks, a mysterious world of muscles, bones, veins, and organs which endure our turbulent emotional states, endure our tortured thoughts, endure our various and punitive diets, endure the torture of climate changes and home-uprooting, endure our lovelessness, endure our fertile negative imaginings and paranoia, endure our tortured memories and traumatic secrets, endure our disrespect for authorities and bitterness toward everyone's good intention .

See your body in great detail. Clear it of all past endurances that hurt.

We artists love to create solutions to all of the above. In the late 60's there came into the art stream a group of creators who made Body Art. Many of us used endurance as a primary material for our work. Some of the reasons might be:
  1. That endurance was a reaction against the linearity and dogmatism of minimal art.
  2. That endurance artist were interested in leaving the world of buying and selling art, making our work for each other, for ourselves, not for slick documents, mindless magazines, judging audiences or uncaring strangers.
  3. That artists publicly used the drugs of the day: marijuana, hashish, LSD, and peyote, drugs that allowed them to hang out and endure for long periods of time in trance and altered states, as art.
  4. That the women’s' movement and civil rights movement inspired artists to experiment with issues of sensitivity training and consciousness-raising, as art.
  5. That the artists of the 60's formed deep bonds with both eastern spiritual teachers and with American Indian elders who helped us see and feel new ways of honoring and appreciating our bodies and the earth. These wise teachers taught us self-initiatory and risk-taking rituals which could be used to mark important passages. They introduced us to death-defying actions, risk-taking attitudes, and important maturity retreats. Later, once we learned from them, we translated the teachings into our performances. Now reality TV’s soulless translations of our experiments mirror our work but miss the inner meaning.

Then there was the division around gender. How did women endure? And men?
Performance art became the art of choice for women artists in the 70's since it offered a fluid, intuitive, healing, versatile, spontaneous and dynamic method akin to the physical vigils and endurances that women perform at childbirth and in the act/art of child raising.
Some women who endured:
Faith Wilding waited; Nancy Youdelman exaggerated; Judy Chicago healed; Carolee Schneemann liberated; Hannah Wilke exposed; Eleanor Antin satirized; Mierle Ukeles respected; Annie Sprinkle shared; Karen Finley raged; Suzanne Lacy aged. All of these women used time and material in new ways, courageously forging ahead of a tired system of painting/sculpture current at that time.

Men also played with time and initiated themselves but somewhat differently.
Joseph Beuys wrapped; Tehching Hsieh deprived; Chris Burden crucified; Stelarc hung; Terry Fox cured; Richard Long walked; Vito Acconci yanked; Tom Marioni drank.

And not to confuse the issue, what about couples?
Alex and Alyson Grey processed; Marina Abromovic and Ulay stared; Barbara T. Smith and Vic Hendricks embraced; Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh got roped.

Can you imagine how you would initiate yourself into a life passage? Write it, sing it, perform it, keep it secret but by all means BE SAFE! Or join an invisible Internet community where travel, audience and applause are non-existent.

My father once told me after listening to me complain about insurance prices "Life is hard enough. Don’t make hard things harder." And in his yearbook his legacy is someone who makes difficult things seem easy.

By practicing endurance, possibly we can prepare in a strong way for times when we need to be even stronger.

Audience and the Art of Linda Montano 1999

In September of 1999, Montano was invited to perform as an Art/Life Counselor at an art symposium sponsored annually by SUNY New Palz. Montano had an Art/Life booth and gave away copies of this paper, which was written for the occasion.

Audiences have always been an important component of the performance practice I began in 1965. To better understand the purposes and scope of my own work and its relation to audience, it is necessary to first lay a foundation. To do this, I will do the following:

  1. Define the term audience.
  2. Explore Aristotle’s theory of catharsis as it relates to tragedy
  3. Explain the four types of brain waves
  4. Look at the parameters of performance art in general
  5. Construct the interface between selected performances from my 33-year career and their relation to audience

I.  The Dictionary Definition of Audience

  1. Audience: a hearing, listening group.
  2. Those assembled to see or hear a concert or play etc.
  3. Those who listen to a radio program or view a television program.
  4. Those who pay attention to what one writes or says, one¹s public.
  5. The act or state of hearing.
  6. The opportunity to have ones ideas heard.
  7. A formal interview with a person in high position, especially with a sovereign or the head of the government.

II.  Aristotle’s Theory of Catharsis as it Relates to Tragedy

The purpose of tragedy (or in my case, some of my performance practice) is to arouse pity and fear and affect a pleasurable catharsis or purging of these two emotions. Although Plato felt that tragedy weakened the viewer emotionally, Aristotle chose the path of purging, listing a few ways to proceed:

  1. Medical Purging: (vaccination theory) Because pity and fear are often present in excess, by applying more of the same there will be a homeopathic release, restoring the viewer to emotional balance; using snake venom to cure snake bite.

  1. Vicarious Experience Theory: Viewers take vicarious pleasure in experiencing emotions without being harmed personally.

  1. Sadistic Theory: Subconsciously we enjoy seeing others suffer although in theater it is not real; conversely in performance it sometimes is real.  Others suffering elicits a feeling of superiority to the sufferer. Power politics is at work here.

  1. Relief Theory: Although we identify with a character in a tragedy, we also take pleasure when the drama ends, convinced that their ordeal is much worse than our own so we leave relieved and transformed.  This is the “art is good medicine” theory.

III. Explanation of Brain Waves
Millions of brain cells communicate with each other by emitting tiny electrical impulses.  This day/night activity can be registered as oscillations (brain waves) by placing electrodes on the scalp and displaying the brain waves on a computer.  The brain oscillates at different frequencies depending on the state of consciousness.  The four brain waves are the following:

  1. BETA:  13-36 oscillations (waves) per second (Hz).  This is the normal waking state associated with thinking, problem solving and living in daily life.  Stresses oscillate the brain at higher numbers (20-36 Hz).

  1. ALPHA:  (8-13 Hz) The wave of rest, relaxation and conscious awareness, although it is also the wave which bridges entrance to lower frequencies.

  1. THETA:  (4-8 Hz) The brain wave of small children, adults dreaming, or drowsiness as well as strong emotions.  Theta increases during deep memory work in therapy or during the surfacing of repressed feelings, although Alpha waves need to supervene to translate the material into insight and creativity.

  1. DELTA:  (o.5-5 Hz) These waves appear in sleeping adults and newborns.  The slow rhythms are associated with basic survival issues. During rebirthing therapy, Delta is noted when clients relive their birth.  Delta is the site of the collective unconscious and when in collaboration with Alpha, becomes inner intuition, empathetic radar or the sixth sense.

IV. The General Parameters of Performance Art
Since 1965 I have practiced performance art, a slippery and generic title that essentially defines art which belongs to the family of painting and sculpture but when practiced in real time, with real bodies, can be more permissive, transgressive, healing, transpersonal, combative, autobiographical, dangerous, raw, primal, political and shocking.

Performance was the disturbing relative of disembodied fine art. As practiced by first generation artists of the 60’s and 70’s it took incredible risks that not only stretched the artist-practitioner with its content, fantasies, dreams and neediness but also surprised audiences.  In so doing, it became an art for the brave. It instructed, infuriated, bored and nourished the audience. Who would do this kind of non-right-wing, unable to be funded, on the edge kind of work?  Actually, those you might expect; because early performance was by and for women, the transgendered, people of color, the survivors of the atom bomb, the disenfranchised, ethnic minorities, the ill, the non-commodified, mystics, gays and lesbians, risk takers, by and those sensitive men willing to be vulnerably present.

What about audiences?  Art has always been a dialogue, first with the artist and their muse, then the artist and the idea, then the artist and their material, then the artist and the performance or object, then the artist and their audience.  What makes performance art more demanding for the audience is the phenomenon of presence – the presence of the artist, right there -- the artist who often does things which are so different from the expected that it takes a great deal of attention, care and wrestling with the demons of correctness and manners to be a performance art audience member.

The initiation process of belonging may include being spattered with blood, urine, feces, oil or dirty bath water.  Ears might be attacked with invective words shouted decibels above hearing range.  Eyes might be forced to view breasts, cellulite, drool or undigested/digested tuna fish.  Audiences¹ bodies might be caressed with other bodies, feathers, flying debris or a warehouse of out of control materials. Audiences might have to walk miles to be included in an outdoor piece or stay cramped in a small space with other equally effusive armpits. Audience members have had to make life/death decisions, cross the non-existent proscenium and take away knives, guns, razors, scissors or put out fires to ³rescue² the performing artist who is practicing³intervention² art, a practice that is based on the kindness and intervention of audience members for its termination.  (An early 70¹s phenomenon, Thank God!) In short, the Performance Art Audience Member, or PAAM, is invited to not only be there at the event, but to become a performance artist themselves by virtue of attendance and survival of the event.  The initiation is that simple, be there, live and earn your title.

But why, you might wonder, would the artist or audience endure such a demanding use of their time and energy?  My belief and experience has been that I continue in this profession to get high; performance is a cheap drug, and cheaper therapy!  But it also has a nobler purpose; one of transformation, for its ability to change brain waves makes it a preparation for meditation.  The performative state builds a bridge between the conscious and unconscious, and often the super conscious; sometimes during but often after a performance, a drowsy/dreamy feeling, which is in full contact with clear, conscious awareness, is experienced by the artist and the audience members.  The EEG pattern is a mixture of Alpha and Theta waves (8 Hz) with Alpha reflecting conscious awareness and Theta signifying subconscious activity, and that is a fantastic balance.

By aesthetically/chemically purging subconscious material, by suffering publicly, by exposing excesses of power, by exploring homoerotic images and desires publicly, the storehouse of hidden fear, guilt, rage and isolation gets cleaned out as art and the brain takes a chemical holiday at the Spa of Performance Art.  So if you sit still and feel, it’s possible that Delta (infant waves) and samadhi (Delta) states of attention might visit the scene during or after a performance, an Aristotelian catharsis becomes rapture!

V. Selected Performances by Linda Montano and Their Relation to Audiences

  1. 1962-1969 - AUDIENCE AS PLAYMATE In 1963 I performed my first public action by organizing a group of Catholic women at the college I attended.  We glued ceramic tiles we made to a large stairwell wall.  It's still there. Deepest thanks to Mother Mary Jane, my first performance teacher and mentor of ecstatic improvisation and creativity!

  1. 1965 - In Italy, for my MA show, audience members were given a number at the opening and these numbers corresponded to Italian found objects that they publicly assembled.  Audience members became instant artists and I was freed from the confines of the studio.

  1. 1968 - Instead of sculpture, my training, I presented live chickens in sculpture cages for my MFA show and performed chicken art in the streets.  After these events I was hooked on Live Art.

  1. 1970-1973 - AUDIENCE AS CO-MEDITATOR. After tasting the beauty of yoga and marriage, I began a series of white-faced, white-gauzed, long-term endurances -- lying down, sitting as CHICKEN WOMAN,  becoming a performance saint.  Audiences watched, meditated with me, went into altered brain waves with me, validated my stillness/silence.

  1. 1976-1980 - AUDIENCE AS CO-HEALER In 1977, my ex-husband tragically died and for two years I mourned him in my art.  I could not have survived without the co-healing of those audience members who breathed life back into me as I performed and performed and performed.  I am eternally grateful to everyone who consoled me as art.

  1. 1980-1983 - AUDIENCE AS UNNECESSARY I became a resident of a meditation monastery retiring from art, although I did organize skits, plays and performed on the local TV channel but I called that fun.  I was in retreat from art and audience.

  1. 1983-1984 - AUDIENCE AS CONCEPTUAL CO-CREATOR Tehching Hsieh was looking for someone to be tied to him for a One Year Performance.  Luckily I found him, expressed my interest, left the monastery and spent one year tied to this artist/genius.  We vowed not to touch, rode two bikes on NYC streets, worked jobs, and never took off the rope for that year.

  1. 1984-1991 - AUDIENCE AS VOYEUR, AUDIENCE AS CLIENT, ARTIST AS AUDIENCE GRANTOR For seven years I was given a window space at the New Museum that I inhabited once a month for seven hours, for seven years.  In that space audience members both watched me from the street, viewed me from inside the museum, came into the window as clients and sat across from me while I practiced ART/LIFE COUNSELING with them, granted audiences,  and called it art.

  1. 1991-1998 - AUDIENCE AS STUDENT, AUDIENCE AS ADMINISTRATOR, AUDIENCE AS AUTHORITY FIGURE For seven years I taught performance art as a performance.  The students and administrators were co-performers and audience in this experience.

  1. 1984-1998 - AUDIENCE AS COLOR CONSULTANTS, AUDIENCE AS ENERGY MIRRORS For 14 years I performed 14 Years of Living Art, wearing seven color clothes, one color each year, corresponding with the seven colors of the Hindu chakra system.  “Audience” members encountered on the street often commented on my red, orange, purple, etc., ensembles! By experiencing the colors and chakras I embodied, they also felt the effect of color on their own energy fields.

  1. 1998 - AUDIENCE AS ADOPTED FAMILY, AUDIENCE AS FAMILY In 1990, I met Dr. A. M. and Dr. A. L. Mehta, Ayurvedic doctors from India and we mutually adopted each other.  I now practice the art of living with them whenever I can. After 14 Years of Living Art, in 1998, I began an experiment, which includes wearing orange clothes forever. I also perform Blood/Family/Art with my relatives and 86-year old father.  This day-to-day cathartic empowering of my inner child has no product, only daily life. I do perform, teach and extend my practice with public events dedicated to the art of Living Art, an aesthetically chemical, euphoric state of ecstasy, designed to induce compassionate understanding.

VI. Conclusion

Performance art is only for those willing to suspend critical faculties of correctness and culturally imposed paradigms.  Join, change your brain waves, be surprised, have an Aristotelian catharsis, but be safe.  It is not the 70’s anymore.  WELCOME TO THE CLUB!

VII. Performance Art Audience Member Certificate

I, __________________, am a life-long member of the Performance Art Audience Club.  I vow to perform/view actions beneficial to others and myself.

A Performance Art Timeline (Roselee Goldberg)/Thoughts on Performance Art (Linda M. Montano)  2000

Montano wrote “A Performance Art Timeline” in response to Roselee Goldberg’s seminal history of performance art Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present Revised Edition, New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., Publishers 1979, 1988. Goldberg’s book was the first of its kind to establish the avant-garde, historical precedence for performance art. Along with many other artists who worked primarily in performance, Montano was tremendously influenced by Performance Art. The piece, which has not yet been performed, is a type of litany call/response that Montano wrote in homage to Goldberg’s book. What follows represents Montano’s subjective response to certain people, events, and manifestos that Goldberg covered in her text.

Goldberg: 0-Present: Tribal Ritual or Passion Play Page 8.
Montano: It’s natural for performance artists to explore the real, taboo, shocking, raw, transgressive, outrageous, difficult, erotic, durational, scatalogical, penitential, transformational, autobiographical, subversive, confrontational, brutal, banal, and aggressive in their practice, thereby alchemizing beauty from inner/outer truth.

Goldberg: 1490: Leonardo da Vinci dressed his performers as planets and had them recite verses about the Golden Age in a pageant entitled Paradisio. Page 9.
Montano: It's scientifically proven that performance art alters brain waves and performance artists use this technology to create levels of consciousness conversant with eastern/western mystical theologies.

Goldberg: 1589: A mock naval battle, designed by Polidoro da Caravaggio, took place in the specially flooded courtyard of the Pitti Palace in Florence… Page 7.
Montano: It's tempting for ex-sculptors and ex-painters turned performance artists to insist that they developed the form. But in keeping with the Arte Povera feel of the practice, it is beyond ownership by any one group or faction. It belongs to all who embrace the permission to create freely.

Goldberg: 1638: The Baroque artists Gian Lorenzo Bernini staged spectacles for which he wrote scripts, designed scenes and costumes, built architectural elements and even constructed realistic flood scenes…Page 9.
Montano: Now performance art is studied in academia and has been for the last 20 years until administrations tire of having to defend the form or their performance art faculty.

Goldberg: 1896: Alfred Jarry presents Ubu Roi in Paris to an antagonistic, fist-fighting, violent crowd when the taboo word "Merdre" (shit in French with an extra r) is repeated over and over. Pages 11-12.
Montano: It’s not fair to write an article on performance art without including futurist performance artists, constructivist performance artists, Dadaist performance artists, surreal performance artists, Bauhaus performance artists and all other forbearers of the form like the Japanese Gutai, and Viennese Actionists. And of course there are Christian penitents, American Indian elders, African healers, Eskimo shamans, Hindu yogis and countless other legacy holders and mentors of the form.

Goldberg: 1909: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti wrote the Futurist Manifesto, an attack on the establishment values of the painting and literary academies. Marinetti performed actions at Trieste, the pivotal border city in the Austro-Italian conflict, designed to support the Italian intervention against Austria and to celebrate the industrial age with its machines. Pages 12-13.
Montano: It’s possible that Consciousness Raising (CR) might be seen as the most powerful cultural force shaping performance art when a feminist theorist analyzes the form. Other art writers might include the influence of the holocaust, drugs, bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, the popularization of psychology, Vietnam, accessibility of the media, technology, existentialism, Buddhism and new sexual permissions. Points of view are determined by the defining experiences of each viewer of the form.

Goldberg: 1913: The Futurists embraced the symphony of the machine: Noise instruments (Russolo), noise music (Protella), body actions based on machines (Balla), marionettes (Clavel), synthetic actions and simultaneity were some of the components of futurist ideology, an art that spanned the years between the first and second world wars. Pages 20-24.
Montano: It's been stated elsewhere that early performance that explored the body via task, endurance, vulnerability, psychology, presence, difficulty, taboo, permission, intimacy, and sexuality not only compromised the audience's safety, nerves and sanity but also confer the status of "performance artist" on them by virtue of their ability to co-create with their presence.

Goldberg: 1920: Petrograd, the third anniversary celebrations of the October Revolution in Russia. In The Storming of the Winter Palace, 8000 citizens, army trucks, huge platforms, 125 ballet dancers, 100 circus artists, a red and white army, an orchestra of 500,fireworks, and spotlights on the palace, were included in this large-scale spectacle. Page 41.
Montano: It’s sometimes the case that "relics" of performance art are as important to the art world as the actions that created them even though commodity was never the focus or reason for the practice, process was.

Goldberg: 1923, the Blue Blouse Group, Russia. Huge posters were placed on the stage with holes cut out for heads, arms, legs of the actors...reciting texts based on controversial political and social events...Pages 46-48.
Montano: Practitioners of performance art want nothing to do with high art.

Goldberg: 1905. Benjamin Franklin (Frank) Wedekind of Munich would urinate on stage. According to Hugo Ball, he also induced convulsions in his arms, legs and even his brain. Pages 50-53.
Montano: Performance art's ability to de-automate the artist and viewer makes it a worthy vehicle of mystical technology.

Goldberg: 1916: Hugo Ball and Emily Hennings founded the Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, a cabaret where Ball performed his new species of “verse without words” or “sound poems” sometimes dressed in a huge cardboard costume. Pages 55-61
Montano: It's always been an understanding that performance artists avoid the marketplace and prefer the stance of non-elitist presence in real-time. Dialogue might be ordinary speech but the intention is always transformational.

Goldberg: 1916-1923: Dada (which means yes in Romanian, rocking horse in French, baby carriage in German) was a cabaret art that questioned authority. Hugo Ball wrote "Our spontaneous foolishness and enthusiasm for illusion will destroy...what is deemed culturally respectable." Page 62.
Montano: Performance art is an art of simple, spare, and curt actions, a Dionysian echo of the minimal/conceptual Haiku of the 60's and 70's.

Goldberg: 1925, Paris: In the Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton wrote that surrealism rests on the belief in the higher reality of certain hitherto neglected forms of association, in the omnipotence of dreams.... Page 89
Montano: It’s not good taste that determines performance artist's decisions but in time, those Avant Garde bad taste decisions, become "good taste".

Goldberg: 1925: In Picabia's Relâche, Duchamp played Adam, nude.... a fireman poured water endlessly from one bucket to another. Page 92.
Montano: It’s virtually impossible to outline the history of performance without writing a series of books about the many facets of the practice and even then, the task is nervous making because some names will be forgotten, artist friends always will be remembered, dates might be miscalculated, concepts juggled, events doled out to the wrong performance artists, in the incorrect century even, wrong city....a frustrating exercise in imperfection but a necessary one.

Goldberg: 1919: Gropius’ romantic Bauhaus Manifesto called for the unification of all the arts in a “Cathedral of Socialism.”... Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy, and Schlemmer took up residence in Weimer to form a self-contained community within the conservative town. Page 97.
Montano: It’s proven that ritual effects brain chemistry and the endurance and mystical aspects of performance art have been known to induce trance not only in the performer but also in the performance art audience.

Goldberg: 1919.The first performance art course taught by Oscar Schlemmer at the Bauhaus insisted on synthesizing art and technology in "pure forms.” Students came to the Bauhaus to be cured of the prevailing Expressionist style. Pages 98-99.
Montano: It’s been researched and scientifically authenticated that we all need relationships to thrive and performance art provides for a tribal connectedness often missing in families, churches and society.

Goldberg: 1922: Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet lasted several hours and was accompanied by Paul Hindemith's score for player piano. This "metaphysical review" used three dancers who wore 18 costumes and danced 12 dances. Pages 111-112.
Montano: It’s not only on the east and west coast of the United States that performance art flourished in the 60's. Wherever the disenfranchised, marginalized, and courageous lovers of chance, truth and process happen to be living, performance art will be there also.

Goldberg: 1927: The Slat Dance, performed by Manda von Kreibig, included a constricting, visibly fascinating costume of long slats of metal and glass. Her dance was the constricted movements and sound of the slats hitting each other. Pages 106-107.
Montano: Many performance artists have a ball exploring persona, personality and archetype changes, gender manipulations and cross costuming whenever possible, Halloween being one of the holidays they remember from childhood with great fondness.

Goldberg: 1928: Wassily Kandinsky designed visual equivalents to Modest Mussorgsky's musical phrases, using movable colored forms and light projections. Page 111.
Montano: It’s non-productive to judge self-inflicted and destructive performative actions as acts of irrepressible non-responsibility when actually they are highly orchestrated shamanic/prophetic technologies of aesthetic mystics.

Goldberg: 1933: John Price opens an art school near Black Mountain, North Carolina, which would come to be called Black Mountain College. Twenty-two students, nine faculty and Josef Albers of the Bauhaus comprised the faculty. Page 121.
Montano: It’s been essential for many performance artists to break down the separation between art and life so as to claim every second as LIVING ART.

Goldberg: 1936: Albers invites Bauhaus colleague Xanti Schawinsky to teach "stage studies"(visual theatre). In Schawinsky’s Danse Macabre,the audience was dressed in cloaks and masks. Page 104.
Montano: It’s imperative to remember that performance artists were insistent on being released from the fine art traditions of classical European history.

Goldberg: 1937: Cage wrote in The Future of Music “Whether the sound of a truck at 50 MPH, rain or static between radio stations, we find noise fascinating." Chance, indeterminacy, non-intentionality were principles derived from his studies with Dr. Suzuki. Page 123.
Montano: Performance art is a practice of simple, spare, curt actions performed by divine radicals who are gifted enough with the ability to manifest subconscious fears, dreams, negativities and fantasies so that they clear their own and the audience's minds and bodies of daily worries. Once released and relaxed, the artist and audience become one breathing protoplasm. Intimacy is born.

Goldberg: 1948: Merce Cunningham and John Cage collaborate using found and chance movements and sounds. The ordinary and everyday become matter for art. Page 125.
Montano: It's the nature of performance art to be disposable. Once the artist’s body/mind is stretched, exercised, exorcised and cleared, the art is over, never to be seen as important in and of itself except as a vehicle for higher consciousness and inner contentment.

Goldberg: 1953: At Black Mountain College, there was an "anarchic event;” staged by Cage and Cunningham that was essentially a collaboration with film clips projected on the ceiling, babies screaming, coffee served, a dog, poetry read and other collaged elements. This became the prototype for American performance art. Pages 126-127
Montano: It’s plausible to assume that an artist can switch from a western-based art making practice, to non-western art, to performance art, to ordinary/secret/hidden everyday life to death, all in one lifetime.

Goldberg: 1956: Cage teaches experimental music at the New School. Kaprow, Higgins, Brecht, Dine, Mac Low and many others attend. Page 127.
Montano: It’s not skill or technique or fame, which interested the 60's performance artists, rather a non-commodified rawness and subconscious unearthing of mystery was their passion.

Goldberg: 1960: Yves Klein exhibited an empty gallery as art, rolled models in blue paint, painting with them and leapt from a building (Klein’s Leap Into the Void was actually a retouched photo). Pages 144-147.
Montano: Theories of chance, Buddhist spaciousness and disillusionment with authority informed Happenings and subsequent performances.

Goldberg: 1961: Joseph Beuys becomes professor of sculpture at Dusseldorf University and “encouraged students to use any material for their work…His lectures became his art.” Page 150.
Montano: Now, performance art theory has been learned, practiced, commodified by the media, popular culture, and everyone with a video camera, access to a chat room, or spot on reality TV. They are the new “performance artists."

Goldberg: 1963: Charlotte Moorman organized the first Avant-Garde Festival, a venue for composers and performance artists. Page 133.
Montano: Life is art.

Goldberg: 1964: Carolee Schneemann performed Meat Joy in Paris, and, used “the blood of meat carcasses instead of paint to cover the performers' bodies." Page 138.
Montano: Life is art.

Goldberg: 1970: In Conversion, Vito Acconci attempted to hide his masculinity by burning his body hair and pulling at each breast. Page 156.
Montano: Life is art.
Performance Art for the 21st Century 2000

This poem, taken from the Linda Mary Montano Archive, was written on the occasion of the change in millennium. It has not been previously published.

robotic performance art
web cast performance art
surveillance performance art
internet performance art
homebound performance art
3-D fax performance art
monitored performance art
anti-terrorist performance art
healthy eating performance art
millionaire performance art
implant performance art
elder performance art
video-to-computer performance art
healing performance art
space shuttle performance art
cloned clones performance art
grafted tissue performance art
virtual reality performance art
bionic performance art
e-mail performance art
neo-Neolithic performance art
chat-room performance art
interactive TV performance art
ebay performance art
corporate capital performance art
smart chip performance art
portable gym performance art
genetic engineering performance art
spiritual fusion performance art
global communities performance art
chakra balancing performance art
robotic companion performance art
hormone enhancement performance art
equalization of capital performance art
antitheft transmitter performance art
laser sculpting performance art
multicultural fusion performance art
financial philanthropy performance art
personalized TV performance art
online healing performance art
voluntary poverty performance art
disable performance art
legal jurisdiction performance art
adoption performance art
gun legislation performance art
clean water performance art
vow of silence performance art
intellectual property performance art
religion of origin performance art
bionic senses performance art
bloodless surgery performance art
creative nursing homes performance art
online networking performance art
distance learning performance art
long-distance telecom performance art
mood altering clothing performance art
self designed shoe performance art
mood altering furniture performance art
integrative medicine performance art
universally required karaoke performance art
revisionist performance art
forgiveness sacramental performance art
computer wristwatch performance art
shape shifting performance art
pain free illness performance art
DNA and genetic clearing performance art
photon and graviton performance art
virtual human actions performance art
martial art training in a monastery performance art
sustainable development performance art
biodiversity performance art
non violent conflict resolution performance art
respect rather than greedy wealth getting performance art
eco-feminism performance art
intimacy safe relationships performance art
ethical treatment of the disenfranchised performance art
earth friendly performance art
wise and compassionate children performance art
disease resistant cellular theory performance art
safe food as medicine performance art
e-book performance art
online education performance art
online/at home travel performance  art
free web university performance art
net museum performance art
cyberspace mysticism performance art
virtual body morphing performance art
implantable computer chip performance art
space shuttle vacation performance art
children's rights performance art
video camera for all performance art
past life regression performance art
lucid dreaming performance art
instant transfer of mystical  teachings performance art
pill-less ecstasy performance art
maintenance  free hair performance art
virtual-death rehearsal performance art
constant state of mediation performance art
everyday life is enough performance art
cyber cures for loneliness performance art
artists become effective politicians performance art
live internet collaborations performance art
generosity performance art
taking care of aging parents performance art
living-on-line performance art
laughing at everything performance art
vow of silence performance art

Artists/Lifeists 2001

This piece was written in order to define the term “Lifeist,” which Montano believes is the ordinary life counterpart to the artist.

  1. Sometimes trauma or beauty or ecstasy or oppression makes people want to make art. These people are called artists.

  1. Sometimes they live with or spend time with or are influenced by others who are called lifeists because they say that what they are doing is not art but life.

  1. Lifeists choose not to make art of their marvelous happenings or imaginings or traumas.

  1. Sometimes when artists take vacations from being artists and spend time with lifeists they might not really feel at home because they are hiding their art-selves. Other times they are happy to be with lifeists so that they can drop their art and pay attention to life alone. This might seem frivolous but it isn't. Often it is as nice as art.

  1. Sometimes lifeists make believe that they are artists and want to be on art-like imitations of performances such as a reality television show.

  1. Sometimes artists look at these shows and remind the lifeists that what they are doing is not shamanic enough, not sensitive enough, not aesthetically informed enough, not theoretical enough, not ironic enough, not culturally based enough. Artist then feel proud to be smart and better than lifeists.

  1. Sometimes lifeists accuse artists of hypocrisy and artists then feel guilty, knowing that maybe they really wanted fame and that was as frivolous a motive as the lifeists’ desire for a lot of money from TV.

  1. Sometimes the artists get addicted to spectacle, voyeuristic content, and unchecked homoerotic narcissism.

  1. Sometimes lifeists dress like artists or buy homes where the artists live.

  1. Then often something large and leveling and devastating and terrorizing and humbling happens and it is like an atom bomb, or a Holocaust, or a genocide, or a rape, or a repression, or an Inquisition, or a Crusade, or economic genocide, or sexual betrayal, or bodies falling from the skies, and then sometimes everything stops and for awhile there is only life. Then for a short time, everyone in the whole, wide world, for a short, short time, becomes a true artist of life because of death. And the whole wide, wide, wide world breathes together one silent breath and maybe the wheel begins to turn again. Here?

Living Art: Time Spent Artfully Alone or Not Alone

This set of directions was originally published in Montano’s book Art in Everyday Life, Los Angeles; Astro Artz/Station Hill Press, 1981. It was subsequently published in Angry Women, edited by Andrea Juno and V. Vale, San Francisco: RE/Search Publications, 1991.

Section 1: Purpose and Intent:

Friends often intend to collaborate but rarely find the opportunity. The purpose of LIVING ART is to allow artists and non-artists to designate specific times: hours, days, weeks or months to work and lie, together or alone. This time then becomes ART. The intention of LIVING ART is to redefine relationships by living together in a marathon fashion after having drawn up a mutually workable contract. The contract lasts as long as the ART.

Section 2: Living Art Defined:
Living Art is any work/play which artists/non-artists are willing to perform together or alone. The rules can be determined by the needs of the participants. For example, they may explore silence, fasting, psychic discoveries, eating, basketball, etc in the search for new styles of relating. LIING ART becomes LIVING ART when the times and activities which the e artists perform are intended to be art. The announcement may be public or private.

Section 3: Time Defined:
LIVING ART divides time into actual time and ART. Actual time is divided in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. The artists may choose as much of this time as they think they need to Transform and change Themselves. When it is intended that a specific time together will be designated as time for LIING ART< then that time will become ART and not time.

Section 4: The Contract:
The contract is an agreement made by the artists before the event. It states that the time together and activity performed will be ART.
Section 5: The activities:
The activities are anything that the artist/non-artists would like to perform together. These activities, when documented and performed together as ART can change the values and personal vision of the artist.

Section 6: Documentation
The document of the time can be in any mode comfortable for the artists. Record making should be done without stress so that the process of the art itself can be fully experienced.

Section 7: Directions For Performing Living Art:
Choose a person/persons with whom you wish to perform LIVING ART.
Select an activity that you would both like to perform.
Draw up a contract stating what the activities are, time it will be, and place/places.
Decide on a mode of documentation for the LIVING ART event.
Spend the designated time together and perform the events.
Present the result of your experiment to one of more friends, either with documentation, talking or live performance.

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