Bern Seiderman Art Gallery Presents “Avant Garden”

To celebrate and welcome the incoming spring season, LHS’s Bern Seiderman Art Gallery was recently “dressed” to showcase the theme “Avant Garden.” This exhibit for the month of March featured work from second-year fashion students under the guidance of family and consumer science teacher Karen Goulet. 

Bern Seiderman was a former superintendent of the Lynbrook Schools who believed heavily in the balance between all academic courses. He shaped the Lynbrook school system with his vision of a balanced education that equally strengthened students’ academic and artistic skills. The gallery was a component of the new LHS building extension and was dedicated to Seiderman for his great influence. It has a designated theme each month that is introduced at Board Meetings and displays LHS’s finest student artwork.

The “Avant Garden” theme was an adaptation of the fashion style avant-garde, an experimental style showcasing innovative clothing trends that may be considered unusual. Avant-garde style is perfect for those who dare to go against the mainstream, and it has taken the runways by storm in the past few years. Well-known avant-garde fashion designers include Comme Des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexander McQueen. Each designer has a unique style that could showcase different silhouettes, asymmetrical hemlines, lots of volume, and monochromatic colors. 

The ‘Avant Garden’ theme was influenced by an episode of Project Runway,” Goulet explained. “Since the avant-garde style is experimental, it allowed us to be over the top in creating the display.”

After finding inspiration, the fashion students were given the challenge of creating their own rendition of avant-garde style that incorporated elements of the environment. The process of creating their pieces began with the students choosing a color scheme and background using gel plates. Then, they designed multiple dresses or thumbnail sketches to create looks one would typically see at a wedding, while incorporating avant-garde. 

The students worked together to choose one design to bring to life on a life-size dress form. They used mixed media for the pieces: glued, hand, or machine sewn. To encapsulate the essence of avant-garde, the students used materials that typically would not be seen on the runway: cardboard boxes, packaging, bubble wrap, and more. The “trash” along with typical materials like fabric, ribbon, feathers, and flowers came together to create an “Avant Garden.” 

The use of the trash came into play because there were constant piles of cardboard and styrofoam lining the hallways of the new wing,” Goulet said. “I would walk past the trash daily, and it gave me the idea to use it as a sculptural element. It truly emphasized the avant-garde theme — a bit weird and unconventional,” Goulet added. 

Sophomore Katherine Ferng said she was a bit apprehensive when the trash was introduced. “At first, I could not imagine how bubble wrap or cardboard could be made into a dress,” she shared. “When the pieces started to come together, I was pleasantly surprised. I think the trash was a key component in truly capturing the avant-garde theme, and it created a beautiful display.”

When the pieces were finally put on display, the students were pleased to see what they accomplished. “I get to display my students’ work in the gallery once a year and I absolutely love doing it – it’s the highlight of my year,” Goulet said. “The icing on the cake was the centerpiece created by seniors Stella Kasprzyk and Deirdre McCarthy. I think it pulls the whole display together.” 

Sophomore Peyton Keller agreed, saying, “I thought once put together, the display looked amazing! Everyone in our class worked so hard on our pieces and it totally paid off.”

After the month of March, the gallery was made over and the countdown began for the next fashion display. Students and staff of LHS are excited to see what the Fashion students have in store for next month.