Dread Scott is a visual artist who makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. Whether working in performance, installation, video, photography, printmaking, or painting, his work evinces a dedication to significant social questions and the desire to push formal and conceptual boundaries.
Scott’s canonical installation for audience participation What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag? (1988) invited viewers to walk across an American flag in order to write their responses to the question posed by the artwork’s title. Text bearing this title was printed in a photomontage of South Korean protesters burning American flag above a picture of coffins draped in American flags. Works like the flag A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday (2015) are emblematic of the United States’ foundational and ongoing violence against Black people. In 2019, Scott undertook Slave Rebellion Reenactment. This community-engaged project reenacted the largest rebellion of enslaved people in U.S. history as a means to generate ideas and images of self-liberated Black people, excavating a hidden and buried history about freedom and manumission—about people with a bold vision who tried to overthrow a system of enslavement.
Dread Scott’s work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Brooklyn Museum; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; San Francisco; Hamburger Kunsthalle; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Scott received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2021. In 2019, he was the Open Society Foundation’s Soros Equality Fellow and has received the United States Artists Fellowship as well as a Creative Capital Grant. The New York Times selected his art as one of “The 25 Most Influential Works of American Protest Art Since World War II” in 2020.