As the final event in the Black History/Art History Lecture and Performance Series, contemporary artist Laylah Ali will discuss John Brown Song! (2013), an online project commissioned by the Dia Art Foundation. Exploring her longstanding interest in the radical abolitionist John Brown, Ali asked nineteen people to sing “John Brown’s Body,” a song that became popular during the Civil War. The resulting assemblage of performances and video clips raises important questions about iconic—and forgotten—moments in American history.
View John Brown Song! online.
Laylah Ali is currently a Professor of Art at Williams College where she received her B.A. in 1991. She also holds an M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and trained at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2006 she was named one of the first United States Artist Fellows. She has also been featured in the PBS series Art21 and has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Biennial.
The Black History/Art History Lecture and Performance Series is generously sponsored by Harvard University’s Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities, the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the Center for African Studies, Harvard Art Museums, the Department of History of Art and Architecture, the Department of African and African American Studies, and the Program in American Studies.
For more information visit the Black History/Art History website.
Agency for Critical Inquiry
Laylah Ali: John Brown Song! is part of the CCVA initiative Agency for Critical Inquiry, an open invitation to academic and Boston-area communities to connect with the Carpenter Center, forging a site for collective learning in the public realm.