Linda Montano Opening Performance: Singing My Heart Out
Considered a central figure in contemporary performance art, Linda Mary Montano has been at the forefront of avant-garde performanceâfrom exhibiting live chickens to living an exclusively monochromatic life for seven years in âSeven Years of Living Art,â and the self-explanatory âThree Day Blindfoldââfor the last 40 years.
âIâve been there, done that,â Montano tells SFR.
This Friday, Montano partakes in a triad of exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe, including State of Mind: New California Art circa 1970 in which her work is featured, and a solo show titled Always Creative that concentrates on the breadth of the former nunâs work.
âHer work, basically, is the idea of art/life,â SITE assistant curator Janet Dees explains. âThe premise is to investigate the relationship between art and life, and blur the lines between them.â
Notable is how the artist will present her work to Santa Feâs culturati: with a site-specific âendurance performanceâ that features the artist center stage on a hydraulic scissor lift, belting Linda Ronstadt and Raka Mukherjee songs.
The attraction to Ronstadt, Montano explains, developed when she first moved to California and was exposed to her music. A fascination quickly developed.
âI made believe I was her, and that became one of the components of thisâwhat I call âcreative schizophreniaââwhere I become many different people,â she says. âOne of the people that I become is a kind of cloned Linda Ronstadt country/western singer.â
Montanoâs love affair with music has been a lifelong one. Her father, a first-generation Italian immigrant, did âeverything in order to put food on the tableâ of their New York home. Including starting a band.
âI have this real connection to this image of my parentsâmy Dad in a tux and my Mom in these â30s and â40s nightgownish-looking frocks that her mother handmade for her,â Montano reminisces. âMusic was a big influence. Mother played piano and we sang. Music was a real healing phenomenon in the family.â
About the only time her singing became a negative issue was during a short-lived stint as a nun. âThey came up to me and said: âSister Rose, this is not a nightclub, so when youâre singing the Divine Office, please keep your voice down,ââ she says with a laugh.
Dubbed Singing My Heart Out, the spectacle will see Montano ascending to seven levels within SITEâs structure, one per hourâa continuation of one of the ever-present themes in her latest work: the seven chakras, as well as an ode to her strict Roman Catholic upbringing.
âSin and crucifixion were my food,â Montano says of her upbringing. âThe seven hours is also a reference to this kind of penitential, Catholic paradigm,â she muses.
Audience participation is not only allowed, itâs encouraged, so start rehearsing that riveting performance of âBlue Bayouâ youâve been meaning to share with the world.
If youâd rather save your pipes for a springtime debut, a special follow-up performance titled
Singing My Heart In is scheduled for the showâs closing on Friday, May 17.
âOne of the only times my heart is happy is when Iâm singing, and so I try to incorporate as much singing as possible in my performances,â Montano says. (Enrique LimĂłn)
Thursday - Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Friday: 10 am - 7 pm
Sunday: 12 - 5 pm
Monday - Wednesday: closed
General Admission: $10
Students and Seniors: $5
SITE Santa Fe Members: Free
18 and under Free
Where: SITE Santa Fe
1606 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM