• First Open Post-War and Contem auction at Christies

    Sale 2191

    First Open Post-War and Contemporary Art

    23 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 102

    Laylah Ali (b. 1968)


    Price Realised  


    Laylah Ali (b. 1968)
    acrylic on canvasboard
    6 7/8 x 4 7/8 in. (17.4 x 12.3 cm.)
    Painted in 2006.

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    Gift of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Sold to Benefit the Endowment Fund

    Christies is honored to offer for sale works of art donated by the artists to benefit Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, the nonprofit alternative space in Buffalo, New York, which this year celebrates its 35th anniversary.

    While still in their early twenties, Robert Longo (then a student at Buffalo State College) and fellow artist Charles Clougha Buffalo native who had returned to his home town after finishing art school in Toronto and New York Cityconceived of an exhibition space on the walls of the hall connecting their studios in a former ice house on the citys west side. They were joined in this enterprise by other young artists and art students, notably including two artists also represented in this sale, Cindy Sherman and Nancy Dwyer. (Sherman shot the two photographs in this auction in her studio at Hallwalls in 1976--precursors of her epoch-making Untitled (Film Stills)--but didnt print them until 2005.) On December 18, 1974, the first recorded Hallwalls event took place, a lecture by a then 46-year-old Robert Irwin, starting a tradition that lives on to this day of inviting the most interesting artists they knew about to visit Hallwalls for artists talks, residencies, group and solo exhibitions, site-specific installations, performances, screenings, and readings. John Baldessari was part of the 1976 Hallwalls exhibition Artists Use Photography, visited in person in 1977, and visited again in 1981. (This early period in Hallwalls historyalong with the work of Baldessari, Clough, Dwyer, Longo, Sherman, and 24 otherswas recently showcased in the exhibition The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.) Sol LeWitt conceived Six Geometric Figures Superimposed especially for Hallwalls, where it was executed by Hallwalls artists as part of the winter 1976 exhibition Approaching Painting, Part One, which also included Jennifer Bartlett, Bruce Boice, Robert Mangold, and Richard Tuttle. Kiki Smith was featured in a 1983 group painting show, Jim Shaw in the 1989 exhibition of works on paper Amerikarma, Matthew Barney in a 1990 group show Viral Infection: the Body and Its Discontents (which Barney credits as his first show as a professional artist after graduating from art school at Yale), and Laylah Ali (a Buffalo native) had her first solo show at Hallwalls in 1995. Proceeds from the sale of these works so generously given by the artists will help Hallwalls carry on its remarkable and influential mission into the future by building on its endowment.