Adieu, Yellow Brick Road
By Tom Wachunas
“Lazar Tarzan is blessed – or cursed – with a sharp, roving eye for the dazzling and the unique. His eponymous gallery is not so much a typical white-walled showplace, as it is a phantasmagorical salon.”
I wrote those words for dialogue magazine during the Paleolithic age of my writing about the Canton gallery scene, such as it was. OK, so it was in September, 2000. But back then, the downtown “Canton Arts District” was some years away from becoming part of our cultural vocabulary.
Speaking of vocabulary, my choice of “phantasmagorical” to describe the interior of my good friend’s business, Creative Framing and Lazar’s Art Gallery (located since the late 1960s at the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Hills and Dales Road), was one that Lazar still chuckles about. While the focus of the dialogue commentary was the fine collection of figurative works by Clyde Singer that Lazar had acquired, I had already been a regular visitor/shopper at his establishment all through the previous decade, and have remained so to this day.
It’s something of a sad day at that, as I’ve just learned that Lazar is planning to retire and close up shop by the end of July. So much for procrastination on my part. I never got around to suggesting that he seriously consider changing the name to Lazar’s Phantasmagorium. Then again, he’d be the first to tell you that the last thing I need is to have my ego fed.
In November, 2006, I wrote again (for the short-lived Jackson Observer) about the business that Lazar took over circa 1991 from his father, artist Lazar Tarzan Sr. When I wrote that article I was still very much enthralled by the gallery’s expansive mélange of fascinating objects by hundreds of accomplished artists from around the country. I likened my viewing experience to that of Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz, as she stepped for the first time into the riotous brilliance of Munchkin Land.
Unabashedly sentimental? Maybe. But the place never lost its lustre and has always been that special to me.
And so it is that there’s still time to visit this emporium most excellent (beginning May 30, to the end of July) and lighten Lazar’s inventory by indulging in the discounts. A bittersweet parting, to be sure.
As The Bard would say, eyes look your last, arms take your last embrace. Wrap ‘em around some phantastic stuff.
Creative Framing and Lazar’s Art Gallery, 2940 Woodlawn Avenue NW, Canton (330) 477-8351