Art Goes North & South

The Double Plus One
Artist Gaetanne Lavoie
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So I’m not in Miami at Art Basel — although this is the first year that I’ve received countless invites to various events there — which can only mean one thing. The whole art world happening has gotten waaay over commercialized — not that I’ve risen in popularity or status. (lol)

Tu Me Manque
Artist Gaetanne Lavoie

Instead I am contenting myself with attending a few art gallery events which can be visited with a mere subway ride (who wants to get on a plane, anyway?). First stop last night was the Stricoff Gallery on West 25th Street for an exhibition of painter Gaetanne Lavoie’s figurative works including what looked to be a self-portrait.

Gaetanne Lavoie
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Lavoie is a statuesque figure herself who knows her way around a pair of high waisted flowing leg trousers. I asked her to explain the thought process behind a few of her rather cryptic paintings including  “The Double Plus One” which is meant to evoke the doppelganger in literature. Lavoie explained the symbolism of a young woman (in this case it was a friend who posed for the painting) trying to mesh the different aspects — some good and some not so good of her personality. I somehow come away with a “Single White Female” vibe but that’s probably just me.

A Lady Red
Artist Gaetanne Lavoie

Lavoie’s paintings while slightly disturbing certainly invite interpretation as in “Teddy and Uzi” — one guest thought the theme was abuse. My take on it — “I’ve got my bear and my gun so I’m good.”

Teddy & Uzi
Artist Gaetanne Lavoie

Turns out that I wasn’t that far off — “Look at how loosely she’s holding the gun. Look at her face,” said the Montreal born artist. I’m still not sure I understand the psychodrama here. The exhibition entitled “Made in Canada,” includes two other Canadian artists and is on view until December 13.

Neil & Susan Young, Philadelphia, PA 1970
Photo Joel Bernstein

And speaking of Canada, (I’d like a show of hands on who’s still moving post-election, please), I was off to points further south, (not Mexico but Soho), to visit the opening reception of Morrison Hotel Gallery’s “Long May You Run: A Neil Young Retrospective” (through December 23rd). Featured works of photographers Joel Bernstein, Danny Clinch, Henry Diltz and Julie Gardner, show the famous native of Toronto aging through the six decades of his Grammy winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame career. At 71, does that make him Neil not so Young?

In Car debuting Pono Player
Photo by Danny Clinch

Arriving about an hour into the opening reception the crowd had already diminished possibly due to a concert at Madison Square Garden featuring Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks. Julie Gardner was “in da house” to represent — she walked me through her photos which were from Young’s more recent world tours. She pointed out that she is a big fan of color and many of her photos reflect that love.

Julie Gardner with her Neil Young on the beach scarf

Gardner, a former live music film producer and studio engineer, is also the proud designer of scarves, two of which she displayed for me (after having to remove one off of the neck of Morrison Hotel Gallery owner Peter Blachley). The all-natural fabric scarves can be found on her website — some have her photos emblazoned on them and others are more traditional colorful floral designs and patterns.

Neil Young, 1971
Photo by Henry Diltz

As far as the exhibition, although I am not a fan of Neil Young, I found many of the photos to be engaging, particularly the early ones from his start in Buffalo Springfield, and with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. These depict the gamut of musician experiences: onstage, backstage, in the studio, in and on his car, and with varying styles and degrees of his presence as perceived by each photographer, in color and in black and white.

Top: Neil Young, New York, NEW YORK 1970 Bottom: Neil Young, St. Petersburg , FL 1973
Photos by Joel Bernstein

One thing is for sure: his fashion choices (or lack thereof) have not changed much from the plaid flannel shirts, ripped jeans and ubiquitous pork pie hat that he favored in his youth. One photo of the seat of his jeans by Bernstein appeared on the back cover of the 1970 album “After the Gold Rush” — the dark, moody front cover, also shot by Bernstein, is immediately recognizable to anyone of a certain age. Perhaps Springsteen was influenced as I see more than a passing resemblance to his “Born in the U.S.A.” album cover.

Neil Young, Red Rocks (Day 1) 2015
Photo by Julie Gardner

By the way, if you do find yourself going south to Art Basel, the Morrison Hotel Gallery is presenting “Parental Advisory: Explicit Images”: A Hip-Hop Event and photography exhibition and sale co-hosted by Timothy White and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels from Run-DMC on Saturday at East, Miami from 7 to 10 p.m. RSVP to if you would like more info or to attend.

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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