R. Lee Montgomery is interested in “new ways for people to look at the medium of radio and what it is to use wireless technologies to communicate,” he said. “It’s really about thinking of alternate platforms for presenting work, aside from just the gallery or the museum.”
Montgomery joined UNM a year and a half ago as assistant professor of electronic arts, Department of Art & Art History. He teaches Intermediate Electronic Art and Computer Art – Broadcast.
He has a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College and Master of Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute. Before coming to UNM, he taught at Diablo Valley College and University of California, Santa Cruz.
Montgomery started out as a filmmaker. His video piece “Transformed 02: I Am Sitting in a Theater” is showing outside the UNM Art Museum at the Center for the Arts. He worked as an editor for documentaries, commercials and video games and as a Web designer.
“It’s all been a natural progression from thinking of myself as a filmmaker to thinking of myself as more of an artist that deals with concepts and finds the technologies – which could range from graphite on paper to a large jumbotron at the football stadium.”
Montgomery’s broadcast course immerses students in both the technical and conceptual sides of the medium. “We spend a lot of time with soldering irons making circuits for experimental installations and listening to sound art, and then we also spend some time talking about how you produce more traditional radio programming,” he said.
Montgomery is a founder, director and producer of Neighborhood Public Radio, which started in Oakland in 2004 as a parody of National Public Radio. “It is very hard to encapsulate what a Neighborhood Public Radio broadcast/installation/performance is or can be, because it’s always something different and it’s always a surprise,” he said.
Neighborhood Public Radio has three events coming up at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, designed around three ways people listen to radio: on headphones, in the car and “in the air.” Students from Montgomery’s broadcast class and a class taught by Steve Barry and Mary Tsiongas will be part of the exhibition.
“It’ll be a unique chance for UNM undergraduate students and graduate students to come to L.A. and be a part of a museum show, meet the curator and see what it is to really put on a show at a museum. I know when I was an undergrad, I had no sense of what that meant. So I feel really very privileged to be able to do it myself, but also to include my students in the process.”