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ARTSY: Grand Dame Of 60’s Op-Art Still Hip at 90

BY AMY S. ROSENBERG INQUIRER STAFF WRITER In the ’60s, she was making art that was part of the psychedelic fabric of its day, mind-blowing optical trickery, paintings that vibrated and moved, art that anticipated a digitalednaandradesmall.gif medium few had imagined.

But Edna Andrade was no hippie, no part of the like-wow drug culture that embraced the op art movement of the 1960s.

She was middle-aged, living on her own on Carlisle Street in Center City, her architect husband having left her, isolated from the New York or European art scene, no starving waitress thing for her, no East Village bohemia.

“My cleaning lady was the only person allowed to clean in the studio,” Andrade says. “When she would come in and say, whooah, I knew it was good.”

Now, on the eve of her 90th birthday, it is, frankly, the ladies in the cafeteria of her assisted-living high-rise near 17th and Callowhill that this important but under-recognized artist more often than not eschews, with their join-me-for-dinner dance cards annoyingly booked until eternity.
Up in her penthouse apartment, she’s still reading her New York Review of Books, still organizing her fruit and vegetables in an amusingly geometric mimicry of her art, still game enough to be offering up a vodka martini, even mid-afternoon, to her guests, and still showing a cheerful edginess as sharp as the oil-painted lines she so painstakingly created with a ruling pen.

INQUIRER: Wavy Gravy, Man!

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