Bjork, Woodstock, NY, 1991 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved
Dr. John, NYC, 1992 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved
Captain Beefheart, NYC 1980 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved
Henry Rollins, NYC 1993 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved
Madonna, NYC, 1982 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved
Tina Weymouth and Grandmaster Flash, NY, 1981 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved
I was all set to profile my friend Laura Levine a few months ago, but the Museum of Modern Art selected her work for the Looking at Music 3.0 exhibition currently on view (running though June 2011) and she became impossible!
Not really. But the Museum does start off their video for the show with her image of Tina Weymouth and Grandmaster Flash!
I love Laura Levine but mostly I admire her. Laura brings back the tradition of the "renaissance man" but she's a woman. A renaissance man is "one whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas" and it is hard to find a better example today. As you can see above, Laura is a photographer of great, great talent and skill. These are extraordinary photographs by any standard, but that they are all of musicians I personally admire is a bonus. She let me pick them. I was a kid in a rock star store.
Laura has more. She was Chief Photographer for the New York Rocker, a tabloid which was largely responsible for me packing my bags and moving to the city decades ago. They were lucky to have her as the photos above testify.
Despite the work above (and in some limited cases, available for purchase from the artist) photography is hardly Laura's only skill.
You have likely seen her paintings as well. As this post is an excuse for me to show the photos, I'm not posting any paintings here, but Laura, self-taught, works in a most appealing naive style and has created some of the most endearing portraits of musicians you will ever see. Her portfolio is a trip through American music history, and I can't think of an artist who has done as much except R. Crumb. Just take a few minutes to browse HERE.
A published author. Not just published, but with a blurb from GEORGE JONES. I don't have to say any more. Among her books are Honky-Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels: The Pioneers of Country & Western Music, and Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Founders of Rock & Roll. Her first picture book was Wig!, a collaboration with the B-52's. I expect many more.
Shall I go on? Okay...Documentary filmmaker who has been screened at Sundance. Need more?
Laura also handles Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot. I know it sounds like a place you read billboards for two hundred miles then stop to pee at, but it is in fact one of the greatest junk stores in the world. Vintage fashions, books, records, what-nots and what-have-yous. Take a look at the folks who have shopped there. Somehow, Laura even finds time to take THEIR pictures. I'm only telling you about the shop because since I moved, it is too far for me to drive to. They even have porch parties you wouldn't believe.
Gawd...I HATE Laura Levine. But I also love her like a sister.
The artist Laura Levine owns all rights to the photographs above, and she deserves them. She also didn't have to share them here, so respect her artistic contributions and don't crib them. It would be an insult to me, the artist and you! However, Laura does from time to time sell limited editions of the work and you can see the catalog HERE. Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot is HERE. The Artist's official website (which dances and moves) is HERE.
Above Photographs courtesy of the photographer© Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved