BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange is excited to announce its participation in developing johnbrown a collaboration between former AIR and BAX arts & artists in progress award recipient Dean Moss and acclaimed visual artist Laylah Ali.

From Moss & Ali:

We are interested in the environment of the 1850’s before the civil war: its political polarity and the parallels to now. We’re excavating landscapes, weather, forced migrations, and the struggle to survive the  promise  and  severity of the new west.  We’re beginning a process that offers up our imagined radical selves to the magma of contemporary culture, hoping to sense in the flash of flame a trace of John Brown.


Moss’ second collaboration with the painter Laylah Ali, (the first being figures on a field in 2005), johnbrown meditates the legacy and violent compassion of John Brown, the 19th century white abolitionist. It integrates performance, visual design and community participation, using its presentation and pre-performance production, to question not only the controversial legacy of an historical figure but also the  generational processes at play in the inquiry.  johnbrown will have its New York premiere at The Kitchen in the fall of 2014, the 150th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment: America’s abolishment of slavery.

At BAX, teen artists will participate in a three day workshop  (September 21, 22 & 28) and have the opportunity to both perform and participate in the behind-the-scenes, production & performance activities.  Working extensively with Moss, through discussions, readings, video and performance improvisations, they will assist him in generating new elements of the production that explore the way people interact with ideas and the way individual perspectives change over time. They additionally will learn about the practices of these two contemporary multidisciplinary artists, and their perspectives on the legacy and history of the visionary abolitionist John Brown.

For more information about the workshop visit

To view images from the workshop visit

More information about the project and Dean Moss visit


Dean Moss is a dance based multidisciplinary director, media artist, curator and teacher. His current research investigates perceptions of self and other through transcultural,  multimedia performance collaborations often incorporating audience participation. He was a curator of Dance and Performance at The Kitchen, lectured for two years at Harvard University and is the recipients of several awards including a Brooklyn Arts Exchange arts and artists in progress Artist Award, and the New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award. An early segment of his current project johnbrown, was commissioned by the New York Museum of Modern Art. His company, Gametophyte Inc. is based in Brooklyn.