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Linda Mary Montano: AGING AS ART and Billy X Curmano: Performing for the Dead

 Image courtesy Linda Mary Montano

Image courtesy Linda Mary Montano

This event will bring together two of the movers and shakers of the performance art and art in everyday life fields in the U.S. for a participatory engagement with the audience dealing with the presenters’ experiences with aging and dying. Montano sees her body as a canvas, a sculpture that is chiseled by time as she grows older. Curmano has daringly orchestrated his own funeral in order to perform for the dead, and as an act of self- transformation: a rite of passage.

MY MOTHER ARTIST TEACHER AND FRIEND documents Mildred Kelly Montano's art-life and ability to make art a tool of healing and self therapy.  She was my first art teacher and demonstrated how I could do the same, that is, turn my pain into beauty. During the video, we will all be invited to performatively interact with sound and use my mother's courage as inspiration and a way to create  good medicine for ourselves. Transformation is always available. 

Curmano says: “Artists often paint fantasies, I've tried to live mine and as such I was buried alive for three days in 1983. The trappings of a traditional Italian Wake, New Orleans style Jazz Funeral and International Postal Exhibition about death were primarily for the living. The strenuous preparations followed by a seven-day fast, burial and creative output in extreme and isolated conditions served as an initiation and perhaps doorway to new levels of artistic development for me, but in the end it was all quite simply a "Performance for the Dead."

PARTICIPANTS

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.

Billy X. Curmano is an award winning artist/adventurer and former McKnight Foundation Interdisciplinary Art Fellow. He was trained as a painter and sculptor (If, of course, painters and sculptors can be trained). His more traditional objects have been exhibited both here and abroad since a first solo show at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 1970. Notably, some of his paintings represented the USA in the “III Vienna Graphikbiennale” (Austria). His works have also found their way to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and other prestigious collections. Billy X. came to music through the back door using soundscapes in “live art” and is probably best known for edgy performances. His more eccentric pieces include a 3-day live burial, 2,000 plus mile Mississippi River Swim, 40-day Death Valley Desert Fast and a sojourn to the Arctic Circle on public transport. He’s won awards for performance and film as well as a solo CD. Billy X. has toured every way imaginable including 6,200 miles and 15 cities in 45 days on a Greyhound Bus and intrigued audiences from the Dalai Lama's World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles to New York City's famed Franklin Furnace. He's been a "Pick of the Week" in the L.A. Weekly and on the City Pages "A List". Journalists have dubbed him the court jester of Southern Minnesota. He has been fortunate to study briefly with John Cage, Rachel Rosenthal, Babtundi Olatunji and Joseph Shabalala.

This event takes place in conjunction with As Far as the Heart Can See (September 21 – November 17, 2018).  Additional support provided by: Reimagine End of Life — a citywide event exploring big questions about life and death.

 Billy X. Curmano, Performance for the Dead

Billy X. Curmano, Performance for the Dead