LINDA MARY MONTANO
On Wednesday March 1st at 3pm, Linda Mary Montano was at the car center getting new brakes when she got a call from Shut Up and Listen. We talked about her relationship with music and how she uses sound to enhance her performances. Although Linda’s primary focus isn’t to create music, the sounds she uses to accompany her work are intentional and express her personality.
Before our phonecall, Linda had been listening to dhrupad which is a style of Indian music that is sung or played slowly.
“I’m extremely interested in Indian music and I took lessons in Indian singing.” Linda said.
Recently Linda has been using music, like dhrupad, for meditation and relaxation. She has also been listening to spiritual teachings at night.
“Instead of music I’ll listen to a teaching in order for that information to be fed into my subconscious and to help me feel like I have company in bed but it’s really just an iPhone.” Linda said.
Besides listening to music, Linda has been using music to enhance her performances for decades.
The first performance she did that incorporated music was Learning To Talk.
“In 1976 I started working on video and I cultivated these seven different aspects of myself, seven different personas, and one of them was a country western singer” Linda said. “I have a real deep love of funky women singing mountain music like primitive women singing cowgirl stuff. It’s always been deep in my soul” she said.
Her biggest musical inspiration has been Linda Ronstadt. She did a performance in 2013 where she sang Linda Ronstadt songs into a megaphone on top of a 14-foot lift for seven hours.
“From 1976 to 2013, Linda Ronstadt has been in my repertoire of performances.” Linda said.
Her parents involvement in music impacted her early musical taste. They played in a band together before she was born where her dad played drums and trumpet and her mother sang.
“My dad had very good music taste like Ella Fitzgerald and a lot of jazz and trumpet music.” Linda said.
When her father got sick, she moved back to her childhood home in Saugerties, New York to take care of him which inspired her project “dad art”. She video taped the last years of his life and made a two hour montage with the footage. On top of creating the video, Linda sings a song from the 1940’s every 20 minutes while the video is playing.
“They’re songs that I heard growing up and songs my mother sang in the band.” Linda said.
You can check out Linda’s archive of work on her website:
Linda Mary Montano is a seminal woman in contemporary performance art. Since the 1960’s, her work surrounding feminism has attempted to demolish the boundary between art and life. Her work is autobiographical and often includes her own personal or spiritual transformations. By spending years on a single project through role adoption, collaborations and other methods, the projects she creates become her life and the boundary between art and life disappears. She has written a handful of books with titles like “You Too Are A Performance Artist” and “Art in Everyday Life”. With such an eclectic mix of mediums, she has been an inspiration to all different types of artists and she has appeared in many types of galleries and other venues.
Compilation of Montano's work
"Learning to Talk"