Artist/activist Dread Scott to talk at Nott

Publication Date

Noted American artist and activist Dread Scott will speak at the Nott Memorial Wednesday, April 19, at 5:30 p.m.

His visit is hosted by the Visual Arts Department with support from the Mellon Our Shared Humanities mini-grant. The event is free and open to the public.

Scott is widely known for his involvement in the Supreme Court case, “U.S. v. Eichman et al,” which was instrumental in securing legislation for freedom of speech as opposed to legislation that would have outlawed criticism of the American flag.

He became a center of national controversy in 1989 while a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after producing “What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag,” his first major work. President George Bush called his art “disgraceful,” and the entire U.S. Senate denounced this work and outlawed it by passing legislation to “protect the flag.”

Born Scott Tyler in Chicago in 1965, Scott works across a wide range of media, focusing on issues of race, incarceration, war, government repression and revolution. His adopted name, Dread, evokes Dred Scott, a black slave who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom in the 1850s.

Scott uses performance, photography, installation, screen-printing and video to express sharp social questions confronting humanity.

“I make revolutionary art to propel history forward,” he says in his artist statement. “This is a world where a tiny handful of people controls the great wealth and knowledge humanity as a whole has created. It does not have to be this way, and my art is part of forging a radically different world.

“The work illuminates the misery that this society creates for so many people and it often encourages the viewer to envision how the world could be.”

Scott’s work is included in the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Akron Art Museum and other prominent collections. It has been featured in recent exhibitions at MoMA PS1, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Pori Art Museum in Finland, as well as in America is Hard to See, the Whitney’s inaugural exhibition in its new building. In 2012, the Brooklyn Academy of Music presented his performance, Dread Scott: Decision, as part of its 30th Anniversary Next Wave Festival. Jack Shainman and Winkleman Gallery in New York have exhibited recent work, and his public sculptures have been installed at Logan Square in Philadelphia and Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota.

Scott is a recipient of numerous prestigious arts grants, has been written about in mainstream and art publications, and has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show and CBS This Morning.