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"Paintings on Paper Featuring The Work of Laylah Ali"
2000-11-09 until 2001-01-28
MASS MoCA
North Adams, MA, USA United States of America

Paintings on Paper is an exhibit of small-scale works (1996-1999) by provocative Boston-based artist Laylah Ali. Ali's comic book-like figures, genderless with bulbous green heads and a variety of pared down uniforms, are depicted in the midst of mysterious unfolding dramas. At first glance her Greenheads are colorful and inviting like illustrations from a comic strip or children's book. Upon closer examination though, the disturbing narratives become clear.

This African-American artist, born in 1968, has created surreal figures that seem to have undergone numerous cultural and racial permutations. Ali's enigmatic narratives, with so many details left unsaid, are each easily applied to any number of historical time periods worldwide. From Nazi Germany to the Salem witch trials to domestic and school violence, Ali's cartoonish figures offer not just an oddly timeless picture of history, but also a mirror of the present and a foreboding vision of the future.

Ali received a master of fine arts degree in painting from Washington University, St. Louis, in 1994 and also attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. She has had solo exhibits at 303 Gallery in New York, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, Miller Block Gallery in Boston, and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo. Her group exhibits include Exit Art, the Drawing Center, Yerba Buena Gardens, and Boston Center for the Arts.

MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located at 87 Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA's galleries are open 11 - 5, closed Tuesdays. Admission is $6 adults, $4 seniors and students, $2 children under 16, free to children under 6 and free to members at all times.


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