Adams-Tillim Lecture | Laylah Ali
Visual Arts Lecture Series (VALS)—Fall 2021
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | A Visual Arts Lecture Series presentation by Laylah Ali.
Laylah Ali was born in Buffalo, New York and lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She received a BA from Williams College and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Her most famous and longest-running series of paintings depicts the brown-skinned and gender-neutral Greenheads, while her most recent works include portraits as well as more abstract biomorphic images. Ali endows the characters and scenes in her paintings with everyday attributes like dodge balls, sneakers, and Band-aids, as well as historically- and culturally-loaded items such as nooses, hoods, robes, masks, and military-style uniforms. Her drawings, which she describes as “automatic,” are looser and more playful than the paintings and are often the source of material that she explores more deeply in her paintings. Laylah Ali has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; among others. Her work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale (2003) and the Whitney Biennial (2004).
Laylah Ali is the 2021-2022 Adams–Tillim Lecturer. The Adams-Tillim Lecture was established in 1992 by the late David Beitzel MFA '83, in honor of former visual arts faculty members Pat Adams and the late Sidney Tillim, both of whom David studied with while at Bennington. Pat Adams and Sidney Tillim served as longtime faculty members; Adams from 1964 to 1993, and Tillim from 1966 to 1993. The annual lecture brings leading visual artists, curators, and critics and art historians to campus.