Artist Diana Al-Hadid to discuss work Sept. 5

Acclaimed Syrian-American artist will launch Sam Fox School’s fall Public Lecture Series

Diana Al-Hadid's "Gradiva" (2018), installed in New York's Madison Square Park as part of the public art project "Delirious Matter." (Image courtesy of the artist and the Marianne Bosky Gallery, New York. Photo: Object Studies.)

Diana Al-Hadid embodies contradictions. Her sculpture and wall-mounted pieces are at once methodical and audacious, rigorous and ethereal, monumental and mysterious. From simple, everyday materials — such as resin, plywood, plaster and cardboard — she builds complex, architecturally scaled works that seem to dissolve before the viewer’s eyes.

Diana Al-Hadid. (Photo: Lisa DeLong)

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, Al-Hadid will discuss her practice as part of the Bunny and Charles Burson Distinguished Visiting Lecture for the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. The free talk will launch the school’s fall Public Lecture Series. In all, the series will feature seven presentations by nationally and internationally known artists, architects, curators and designers.

Born in Aleppo, Syria, Al-Hadid immigrated to Ohio with her family at age 5 and currently lives in Brooklyn. Her work frequently evokes the classical world, with influences ranging from ancient frescoes and Islamic miniatures to Renaissance painting, while her densely layered drips and textures can suggest Arabic calligraphy, textile patterns and building ornament.

“I was educated by Modernist instructors in the Midwest,” she has said, “but also was raised in an Islamic household with a culture that very much prizes narrative and folklore.”

This summer, Al-Hadid unveiled six new public sculptures commissioned for New York’s Madison Square Park. Her work also has been featured in solo shows at Brown University, Abu Dhabi University, the Akron Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, the Vienna Secession in Austria and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in Murcia, Spain, among others.

Diana Al-Hadid’s “Draw” (2017). (Image courtesy of the artist and the Marianne Bosky Gallery, New York. Photo: Jason Wyche)

Public Lecture Series

The Sam Fox School’s Public Lecture Series will continue Sept. 24 with visiting artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. Other lectures will include architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (Oct. 24); architect Winka Dubbeldam (Oct. 31); urban theorist Richard Sennett (Nov. 1); Museum of Modern Art curator Leah Dickerman (Nov. 14); and Iranian artist, activist, and educator Morehshin Allahyari (Nov. 28).

All talks are free and open to the public and begin at 6:30 p.m. in Steinberg Hall Auditorium, unless otherwise noted. Each will be preceded by a reception at 6 p.m.

Steinberg Hall is located near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards, immediately adjacent to Givens Hall and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Please click here for details about parking.

For more information, call 314-935-9300 or visit

Enrique Martínez Celaya, detail of “The Cascade,” installed at SITE Santa Fe, 2013. Bronze sculpture, five steel beds, fiberglass and pine needles. Dimensions variable. Collection of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

Fall 2018 speakers

Sept. 5
Diana Al-Hadid
Artist, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Bunny and Charles Burson Distinguished Visiting Lecture

Sept. 24
Enrique Martínez Celaya
Artist; Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth College; Fellow, Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities
Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Artist Lecture

Tod Williams & Billie Tsien, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, 2012. (Photo: Michael Moran)

Oct. 24
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners
Founding partners
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, New York
CannonDesign Lecture for Excellence in Architecture and Engineering

Oct. 31
Winka Dubbeldam
Archi-Tectonics, New York
Harris Armstrong Fund Lecture

Winka Dubbeldam, Inscape Meditation Space, New York. (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

Nov. 1
Richard Sennett
Professor emeritus of sociology, London School of Economics
University Professor, New York University
Eugene J. Mackey Jr. Lecture

Nov. 14
Leah Dickerman
Director of editorial & content strategy
Museum of Modern Art, New York

Nov. 28
Morehshin Allahyari
Artist, Brooklyn, New York
Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture
Supported in part through funding from the Office of the Provost: Distinguished 
Visiting Scholar Program

Morehshin Allahyari, “She Who Sees The Unknown: Huma” (2017). Still image from hd video. (Photo: courtesy of artist)
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