Rain Date: Monday, May 26, 12:00 – 7:00 pm (Memorial Day)
On Saturday May 24, in honor of Bob Dylan’s 73rd birthday, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild will be hosting a performance by artist Linda Mary Montano. Montano will lip sync to Dylan’s songs for 7 hours, positioned on a 14-foot lift stationed outside of the entrance to Byrdcliffe’s Kleinert/James Center for the Arts on Tinker Street.
Since the 1960s, Montano’s career has addressed questions of time, the deeply personal, and the life-affirming, with underlying currents in theology and feminism. She performs rites of emotional passage, mirroring life experiences, and experiments with making the interior exterior, or the private public. Starting her career as a sculptor, Montano’s performance practice began in 1975 with a technique she refers to as “creative schizophrenia.” She “began morphing into 7 different imaginative people,” said Montano in a recent interview with the event’s organizer, long-time Byrdcliffe supporter Alan Baer. “I sat in front of a video camera for a year, talking in different accents as these people. The 7 people were all survivors in their own given professions and fields.”
Montano’s performances, sometimes called “endurances,” can last anywhere from three hours to fourteen years. She is known for her sensory deprivation endurances of the 1970s. From 1983-1998, she wore clothing all of the same color for each individual year, corresponding to the Hindu map of the Chakras. The Dylan endurance outside the Kleinert/James stems from her realization that members of her family bear a striking resemblance to Bob Dylan. She began performing in the persona of Dylan in order to “be like my brothers, having always wanted to be a man as a child—knowing that they were always getting the better cultural deal.” The mechanical lift that will be part of Montano’s performance on May 24 is a tool she began using the day of John Lennon’s death; in 2013 she completed two different 7-hour singing endurances on a lift at SITE Santa Fe. Her interest in and/or performances of Dylan, Woodstock legend Paul McMahon, and other historical figures including Mother Teresa are intricately linked to Montano’s investigations of the blurred boundaries and interconnections between art and life—between being, having been, and wanting to be—or not being anyone at all.
Montano has taught her methods and performance art theories for many years and has written five books about her findings.
Organized by Alan Baer, Linda Montano’s Bob Dylan performance on May 24 will also give visitors the opportunity to see the exhibition of international, contemporary artists, BASH, on its last weekend in the Kleinert/James. An additional art-related event (details TBA) will occur in the gallery on Monday, May 26, when the gallery will remain open to the public. Monday May 26 is also the rain date for Montano’s performance.
For more information on Montano’s 45 year career, visit www.lindamontano.com.
Images on left and right: Video stills from Linda Loves Bob, Ione’s Dream Festival, 2008, Alternative Book Store, Kingston, NY; Video Editing: Tobe Carey; Camera: Diane Teramana // Photo of Montano in the middle, courtesy of Annie Sprinkle.