About the Artist
Linda Mary Montano is a seminal figure in contemporary feminist performance art and her work since the mid 1960s has been critical in the development of video by, for, and about women. Attempting to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, Montano continues to actively explore her art/life through shared experience, role adoption, and intricate life altering ceremonies, some of which last for seven or more years. Her artwork is starkly autobiographical and often concerned with personal and spiritual transformation. Montano’s influence is wide ranging – she has been featured at museums including The New Museum in New York, MOCA San Francisco and the ICA in London.
ARTFORUM: 500 WORDS
IT WOULD TAKE pages to remember and unravel my past traumas: near death from anorexia, PTSD, the Catholic Church’s failings . . . but needless to say, my art cured and continues to heal my life.
7 YEARS OF LIVING ART + ANOTHER 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART = 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART
This Robert J. Shiffler Archive Project, documents Linda M. Montano’s life/art performance 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART + ANOTHER 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART = 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART. The project includes illustrated narratives by the artist as well as, photographic and multimedia documentation about the performance.
TALKI am so honored to be with you at the TRANSART INSTITUTE. And I thank and for inviting me to this inspiring experience. I am inviting 7 collaborators, the 7 CHAKRAETTES t…
- WISDOM: IS IT DOABLE? WHAT DOES DOROTHY DAY SAY?
Presented at ST FRANCIS HOUSE: A CATHOLIC WORKER HOUSE OF HOSPITALITY, Connecticuit
Linda Mary Montano
As we age, we gather more and more information and it takes us longer to retrieve facts and longer to cross reference neurocortexed details from physical memories, psychological memories, moral memories, factual memories and spiritual memories. As a result of this multi level firing of information packets stored in our past experiences, we slow down to retrieve and let our wiring do it’s job. This is not a bad thing but is often seen as a misdemeanor and sign of wrong, wrong, and more wrong. And the worst case scenario is that fear and trembling set in, the adrenal glands do the fight-flight dance and memory stalls to a halt. Permission to be slow, to walk slow, to think slow, to eat slow, to talk slow is a great cure for that. Slow life, I salute you.
Back to the wise: The wise are spacious and exude an atmosphere of rich acceptance of reality as it is and often wise elders are doppleganger-stand ins for Zen masters when they are that in touch with their natural deep selves. Both exude mountain-like majesty.
So it is good to be wise, good to be slow and deep and spacious, certainly not qualities found on day and night TV show where speed, verbal karate and lightening -like dismissal of the moment and the other is a commodity to be treasured.
So now that being old and wise seems so fabulous, how do we approximate, imitate or practice to be wise. Here are a few suggestions.
We all know that the wise do all or some of the above:
*move mindfully&physically as much and as often as possible
*move mentally according to individual interests
*learn how to cultivate positive relationships
*volunteer according to individual interests by either physically going somewhere or digitally/spiritually supporting others
*deflect self-aggrandizement for positive recognition of others
*eat to nourish and cleanse
*practice a spiritual path
*laugh a lot
In my own story, my grandmother was my teacher…a radical and creative woman who created art instead of worry about her life issues. She taught me to transform my personal monsters into myths via the arts.
Because of her, I wanted to always have elders in my life and in the 90′s I interviewed a few of them from upstate NY and they mentored me to move toward aging with humility and humor. The video ALWAYS CREATIVE tells their stories and can be found for free on You Tube to be seen in its entirety at your leisure.
The second video, LINDA MONTANO CELEBRATES MOTHER TERESA’S 100TH BIRTHDAY, is a performance I did in front of the Empire State Building in protest of the fact that they would not turn on the blue and white tower lights of the building for Mother Theresa but turned on yellow lights for Sponge Bob. Their bad! I was there for 3 days, 3 hours a day, blessing people and many times being mistaken for the saint herself! I recommend theatre-training to anyone who would also like to experience walking in the shoes of someone they admire, just for a day!
Why did I choose to imitate Mother Teresa? I have been exploring myself as other personas, some imaginary, some real since 1976. About 7 years ago I developed a neurologic disorder called Cervical Dystonia, a spasming of neck muscles and cramping of other body muscles. One day in the middle of being totally twisted I said to myself, ” I feel (actually look) like Mother Teresa, all bent over”! and immediately as I thought this the inner invitation to be her was born. Having gotten a permission from her nuns in the Bronx to act as if I were their foundress, I proceeded to appear as Mother Teresa for years.
I ask: who was your positive elder-teacher in your childhood? Choose one. What did that elder give you? How have you used those teachings in your life?
Dorothy Day was wise before she was old, i’m sure. Prayer is a wisdom-maker and so is suffering . I ask Dorothy Day to shine her wisdom on us and open those doors that yearn to feel wise light.
During the video LINDA MONTANO CELEBRATES MOTHER TERESA’S 100TH BIRTHDAY, I will read a few sentences from the movie, ENTERTAINING ANGELS, a docudrama of the life of Dorothy Day, the founder along with Peter Marin, of the CATHOLIC WORKER and CATHOLIC WORKER HOUSES OF HOSPITALITY, as I stand with great honor in one of DOROTHY DAYS, HOUSES OF HOSPITALITY, ST FRANCIS HOUSE .
*CHRIST IS IN THE PEOPLE, READY TO FILL OUR EMPTINESS.
*YOU’RE A SMART WOMAN, MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND.
*DOROTHY’S PRAYER: YOU’VE GOT TO TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT, WHAT I’M SUPPOSED TO DO. I WRITE BUT THAT’S NOT ENOUGH. PLEASE SHOW ME HOW. PLEASE.
*PEOPLE WHO ACT DONT THINK, PEOPLE WHO THINK DONT ACT.PETER MARIN
*TAKE LESS SO OTHERS CAN HAVE MORE.
*FIND GOD. GOD IS AS CLOSE AS THE CLOSEST HUMAN BEING. ESPECIALLY THE POOR.
*THE POOR NEED A VOICE, YOU SHOULD START A NEWSPAPER. PETER MARIN
*JUSTICE AND PEACE GO TOGETHER. YOU CANT HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER.
*IF YOU FEED THE POOR YOU ARE A SAINT. IF YOU ASK WHY THEY ARE POOR YOU ARE A COMMUNIST. WE DO BOTH HERE AND WE ARE NEITHER SIANTS OR COMMUNISTS.
*HELP PEOPLE FEEL LOVED BY GOD.
*DOROTHY’S PRAYER: WHERE ARE YOU? WHY DONT YOU ANSWER ME? I NEED YOU. I’M EMPTY, I HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE.
*I’VE BEEN DOING ALOT OF THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU SAID LAST NIGHT. YOU’RE RIGHT. I’VE BEEN ARROGANT AND SELF RIGHTEOUS WITH THE INTENT OF DOING EVERYTHING MYSELF INSTEAD OF LETTING GOD WORK THROUGH ME. AND I’M SORRY FOR ALL OF THAT. IVE BEEN THINKING OF WHAT IT IS THAT GOD WANTS ME TO DO. IT’S BEEN A VERY LONELY LIFE AND IVE BEEN LOOKING TO FILL THE EMPTINESS AND NOW I SEE IT BEGINS WITH THESE PEOPLE. THEY ARE MY MEETING PLACE WITH GOD. IF I WERE JUST GIVEN A CHANCE I KNOW THAT GOD WOULD FILL ME WITH LOVE, FILL ME THROUGH THESE PEOPLE AND I HOPE THAT I DONT HAVE TO DO IT ALONE. BUT IF YOU CHOOSE TO LEAVE I WILL UNDERSTAND.
*THE PAPER IS NEVER GOING TO BE WHAT YOU OR I WANT I T TO BE BUT I DONT THINK THAT GOD WILL JUDGE US ON HOW SUCCESSFUL WE WERE TO CHANGE THE WORLD BUT ON HOW FAITHFUL WE WERE IN SERVING THE POOR.
* DOROTHY DAY CONTINUED TO FEED THE HUNGRY, CLOTHE THE NAKED, SHELTER THE HOMELESS UNTIL HER DEATH IN 1980. A CHAMPION OF NON-VIOLENCE, SHE WAS JAILED REPEATEDLY FOR PROTESTING THE NUCLEAR ARMS RACE AND THE WAR IN VIETNAM.
Quotes taken from the docu-drama ENTERTAINING ANGELS.