Dread Scott (American, b. 1965) is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York. For three decades, he has made work that encourages viewers to re-examine the conventional wisdom and prevailing ideas that underlie the political, social, and economic relations of American society.
In 1989, the entire U.S. Senate denounced and outlawed one of his artworks and President George H. W. Bush declared it “disgraceful” because of its use of the American flag. His art has been exhibited and performed on street corners and in galleries and museums, such as MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, New York), Pori Art Museum (Pori, Finland), and BAM (Brooklyn, New York). He has received grants from Creative Capital, the MAP Fund, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Scott’s work is included in the collection of the Whitney Museum.
Scott's Open Society Moving Walls grant will support Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a conceptual community-engaged performance that restages and reinterprets Louisiana’s German Coast Uprising of 1811, the largest rebellion of enslaved people in American history.
I make revolutionary art to propel history forward.
The world we currently inhabit is a place where a small minority controls the great wealth and knowledge that humanity as a whole has created. It is a world of profound polarization, exploitation, and suffering. Billions are excluded from intellectual development and full participation in society.
It does not have to be this way.
The two works featured in this exhibition are part of my ongoing attempt to forge a radically different world through my art.
Stop (2010) is a video installation that meditates on the police practice of routinely stopping and searching young Black men—often without reasonable suspicion—and how they experience these frequent and humiliating intrusions into their lives. Featuring young men with whom I collaborated from the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and Liverpool, England, the video presents each young man repeatedly stating the number of times he has been stopped by the police.
On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide (2014) is a performance about the struggle for freedom against repressive governments and inequitable economic, social, and political systems. The performance references the 1963 Civil Rights struggle in Birmingham, Alabama, as well as present day struggles against racism, such as those witnessed on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, in response to the 2014 police murder of Michael Brown.
—Dread Scott, October 2017