Andrea Lilienthal doesn't just read the newspaper; she makes art out of them.
“This is the amazon, this little tiny dress,” said Lilienthal.
Lilienthal combs through the New York Times every day in her Brooklyn studio. Sometimes it takes weeks for her to find an image that will inspire a dress made just from the newspapers, thread and a little spray-on acrylic varnish. Look past the pleats and puff sleeves, and you can see these old fashioned frocks addressing issues like gang violence and deforestation.
“It's powerful, that kind of contrast between disturbing world events and something that becomes in its own way quite beautiful,” said Lilienthal.
Lilienthal is in her mid-80s. She's worked with many types of materials over the years but is always inspired by the grey lady.
“I love the actual paper it's made out of and the colors that are possible and honestly the incredible photography,” said Lilienthal.
Her love of clothing goes back even farther.
“In my own childhood, I loved the puffy sleeve you could literally suck on because of all the starch,” said Lilienthal.
Lilienthal has been making her dresses for nearly 20 years and now she's having her first big exhibition here at the Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea.
“What excites me most is the exquisite superb artistry of these pieces as well as the kind of social commentary,” said Marlena Vaccaro Director and Curator, Carter Burden Gallery.
This gallery on West 28th street specializes in showing older professional artists who are often overlooked in the contemporary art scene. And yet the reaction to this exhibit called ‘Small Disturbances’ has been extraordinary.
“It's an unbelievable experience to see all her work together,” said one person.
“They impress you with the lightness yet the strength of the imagery,” said another.
Opening night was packed and there has been a stream of visitors since.
“They're amazed and they're moved and that's kind of terrific,” said Lilienthal.
Amazed and moved: a headline that also describes these very delicate yet powerful works of art. For more information, go to carterburdengallery.org.
The exhibit runs through March 4th.