Montana Simone: Artist, Musician and Director of Idio Gallery
Posted on August 10 2017
"Work by women artists makes up only 3–5% of major permanent collections in the U.S. and Europe," reports the National Museum of Woman in the Arts. Today 51% of visual artists are women. On average, they earn 81¢ for every dollar made by male artists.
Listed as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture" by BKMag, artist Montana Simone seeks to change those statistics. Montana converted a turn-of the century horse stable in Bushwick, Brooklyn into Idio gallery. Montana collaborated with She/Folk to bring together women artists. Read more about Montana in the interview below.
How did you fall upon your career and what makes you love what you do?
I built it by hand. I grew into it like a plant. I had ideas that needed space, I was lucky to find space and filled it with art and music, a community formed and we supported each other. I needed to create the New York I couldn’t find, and curated the space to prove the validity of creative impulse, for political reasons and personal reasons.
What are you currently most excited about?
I’m so excited to open up Idio Gallery from sunrise to sunset, every day, for the month of June, the month of solstice, and for the public to enter the final installation at the space, Radical Hospitality. They will be invited to make sounds, music or otherwise, while video, performance and sculpture show the experience of being hosted around the world, and hopefully give a sense of freedom, empathy and connection. It’ll be a secular ceremony, deeply political and spiritual, as subtle and un-didactic as possible.
What would you tell yourself when you were younger, or what advice would you give other women?
You are BEAUTIFUL. You ARE beautiful. YOU are beautiful.
Take as much power as you can get, with grace. Start early. You will need it when you follow your dreams, to break the ceilings, to go where women have not gone before. Foster female friendships. Be vulnerable but always self-loving, the key is to know your ancestors and always create.
What do you love about lingerie?
I love what lingerie brings out in you, you can hide your fears but reveal other things that are usually hidden. It makes me feel connected to feminine traditions; this gorgeous lace makes me think of spanish grandmothers painstakingly making lace for the bedroom roughhousing of younger women.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Mostly from my matriarchs, including the natural lines of Mother Earth. Also from land art, performance art, conceptual work that breaks through. But for music, my band always laughs when I say I can feel it burning in my core chakra – either after a good jam or dancing to someone else – I get it in my hips.
Describe your perfect kind of day in Brooklyn.
Rising to good fruit and a good run, coffee, reading, writing in my robe, dressing to work on video or sculpture or 2D for most of the day or installing something at the gallery, visiting an artist’s studio and talking about their work over a couple beers, rolling to an opening, rolling to either play or see music, getting some Thai food, and any adventures worth exploring into the night.
Favorite Brooklyn Spots
Newtown Café on Waterbury St., Molasses Books on Hart St., Signal Gallery on Johnson Ave., Nhà Minh Vietnamese food on Morgan Ave., The Lot Radio in Greenpoint, Other Times Vintage on Bogart, and of course, IDIO Gallery at 976 Grand Street!
What song do you currently have on repeat?
The Reno Poem, by Bigott