Q&A with Soho’s Darlene Lutz; Doing it her way


Darlene Lutz is a fine-art dealer and longtime resident of western Soho — which she adamantly refuses to call Hudson Square. For years, she was Madonna’s personal art adviser. Earlier this year, she protested the loud and disruptive Nike Zoom City temporary venue for the NBA All-Star Game that was built on Trinity Real Estate’s vacant lot at Duarte Square, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave. Back then, she told The Villager that the beeping, construction noise and diesel fumes from the site all were not helping her recovery, and was planning to spend some days at the James Hotel a bit farther away. Lutz declined to have her photo run with this Q&A, noting she values her anonymity walking down the street. Plus, she said, “I’m a vain woman!”

Villager: Hi, Darlene. As a breast cancer survivor, what does Breast Cancer Awareness Month mean to you?

Lutz: I don’t identify with the “survivor” label. Having B.C. is an endurance test. I actually loathe the pink wash that accompanies Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

V: When were you diagnosed?

L: I received my diagnosis three years ago, in the form of, “The bad news is, it is breast cancer. The good news is, it’s garden variety.” 

The pregame was an intense eight weeks. There are many cogs to the diagnosis wheel. Everyone was a lot nicer and responsive once I had invasive, but nonlethal, breast cancer.

V: How are you now?

L: I no longer have breast cancer. There are as many types of breast cancer as there are breasts. One treatment size doesn’t fit all. Having breast cancer became my full-time job. I focused on obtaining the best course of treatment for my specific case. I just finished the last of my reconstruction surgeries a few months ago.

V: Are you involved in the breast cancer community?

L: I’m not really a joiner. But I try and keep up on recent medical data, and I participate in an online community forum from time to time. I’m good at aggregating data, and I have binders full of doctors I consulted with.

V: Do celebrities with breast cancer who go public help or hurt?

L: In my opinion, it depends on how they present their case. B.C. is really complicated and highly individual. I think Angelina Jolie did a great job articulating her case by disclosing personal medical data publicly. On the other end of the spectrum, our governor’s girlfriend appeared uninformed and hysterical about her B.C. She didn’t disclose the diagnosis, and said her days were numbered, which apparently wasn’t true.

V: Anything else?

L: It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so feel free to lower your eyes to my breasts. They’re not real and pretty spectacular.