National Museum of Women in the Arts
Linda Mary Montano
January 18 1942 - present
Photo of Linda M. Montano in performance as Paul McMahon. Photo by Paul McMahon, courtesy of the artist. (c) Paul McMahon, 2008
Place of Birth:
Work Type/Media:
Books and manuscripts, Multimedia (electronic, digital, video, film), Performance Art , Sculpture
Artistic Role(s):
Book Artist, Performance Artist, Sculptor, Video Artist
Artist's Biography:
Linda Montano is a seminal figure in the history of performance art. Since the mid-1960’s, she has been exploring the boundaries between art and life through works involving endurance, ritual, and meditative and spiritual practices. Montano has said that she has to “artify” everything and that life is her studio.

Montano’s art practice is informed by the conditions and experiences of the body. Her performances may last from several hours to more than seven years. Raised a Roman Catholic, Montano has immersed herself not only in Catholicism, but also in Zen Buddhism and Indian philosophy. 14 Years of Living Art (1984-1998) is based on the seven energy centers or chakras of the body. In a more recent piece entitled Dad’s Art, Montano dealt with the mundane and everyday aspects of caring for her ill father. Montano has lived in a convent and has travelled to Benares, India to study death and the ghats used for cremation. Montano is the founder of the Art/Life Institute in upstate New York, of which her stated objectives are to perform, teach, exhibit, consult, make videos, write books and attend to the practice of living art. She seeks to create opportunities for focus on spiritual energy states and the cessation of art/life boundaries. She has performed and led workshops in hundreds of venues, has taught at the college level, and is the author of more than seven works, including Art in Everyday Life (1980), Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties (2000) and Letters from Linda M. Montano (2005).

Other Occupation(s):
Professor, Teacher, Writer
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Madison, WI, USA (1966-1969) Villa Schifanoia, Florence, Italy, (1965-1966) College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY, USA (1960-1965) Maryknoll Sisters, Ossining, NY, USA (1960-1962)
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Bessie Award, New York, NY, USA (1992) Grant, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), New York, NY, USA (1986) Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, USA (1985)
Earliest exhibition:
Make Your Own Sculpture, Villa Schifanoia Gallery, Florence, Italy (1966)
NMWA exhibition(s):
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution
Upstate New York Artists' Books
Artist retrospective(s):