Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. He first received national attention in 1989 when his work, What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag? became the center of controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag while he was still a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been included in recent exhibitions at MoMA PS1, the Walker art Center, the Brooklyn Museum and the Pori Art Museum in Finland as well as in America is Hard to See, the Whitney Museum’s inaugural exhibition in their new building. In 2012, the Brooklyn Academy of Music presented his performance Dread Scott: Decision as part of their 30th Anniversary Next Wave Festival. Dread is a recipient of a 2018 United States Artists Fellowship as well as grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the MAP Fund, the Open Society Institute and A Blade of Grass Foundation.
In August 2016, the alternative Kansas City art venue 50/50, which operates out of two shipping containers and a billboard, invited Dread to create a work for their ‘Black Lives Matter’ exhibition. Dread proposed a design for the billboard that included a list of names of those killed in recent police violence juxtaposed with a photograph of a flag he produced in 2015 that bears the words “A Man Was Lynched By Police Yesterday” (a reference to a protest flag hung outside the New York headquarters of the NAACP in 1938). But Outfront Media, the mega-corporation that owns and leases the billboard to 50/50, rejected the proposal on the grounds that it violated their policy that ads be “non-confrontational toward any group or individual to maintain relationships throughout the community.”
Successfully reversing the rejection required pressure from NCAC and local advocacy groups. Dread devised a new proposal that successfully conveyed his initial message. Outfront Media accepted the new proposal and the project went forward.