Art21 Extended Play

Laylah Ali: Choreographer Dean Moss


Episode #118: Dancer/choreographer Dean Moss discusses his collaboration with visual artist Laylah Ali, entitled figures on a field (2005). This behind-the-scenes look features preliminary rehearsals at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, as well as a preview performance at The Kitchen in New York City.

An artist working in both dance and video, Dean Moss’s recent projects use the irrational logic of the body to articulate personal, cultural, and socioeconomic forces that impact a perception of self and environment. Nameless forest, Moss’s newest work (developed in collaboration with artist Sungmyung Chun), premieres at The Kitchen in May 2011 with previews at the Arts Presenters and Producers Conference (APAP) and Yale University.

Artist Laylah Ali creates gouache-on-paper paintings that take her many months to complete. Ali meticulously plots out in advance every aspect of her work, from subject matter to choice of color, achieving a high level of emotional tension in her paintings as a result of juxtaposing brightly colored scenes with dark, often violent subject matter. In style, her paintings resemble comic-book serials, but they also contain stylistic references to hieroglyphics and American folk-art traditions.

Laylah Ali is featured in the Season 3 (2005) episode Power of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online via PBS Video, Hulu, or iTunes (link opens application).

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Tom Hurwtiz & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Tom Bergin & Roger Phenix. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Artwork Courtesy: Laylah Ali & Dean Moss. Special Thanks: MASS MoCA & The Kitchen. © 2010 Art21, Inc.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.