ASL Vlog: Dread Scott

Educator Lauren Ridloff discusses a work by Dread Scott in the exhibition An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017.

Artist Dread Scott “makes revolutionary art to propel history forward.” When he makes art, he engages with history and how the past sets the stage for events today. For example, this flag is a reference to the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. They would set-up anti-discrimination campaigns. Every time there was a lynching, they would send up a flag. It said “a man was lynched yesterday.”The NAACP flew the flag from 1920 until 1938. Recently, in 2015 in South Carolina a man named Walter Scott was pulled over for a broken brake light. He got into an argument with the police and he fled. The policeman shot him in the back and he died. The artist Dread Scott immediately thought of this flag. He made this flag which is almost the same as the NAACP’s but he added two words “by police”. When Scott first showed this flag at a gallery in Chelsea he immediately received death threats. And one week later, the gallery owner was forced to take the piece down. But it had already made an impact far and wide. Scott understands that what happened historically is different than what occurs today. We don’t have crowds of people, smiling and taking photos with a Black body being lynched. But we do have people taking videos capturing police killing Black people and getting away with it. Scott wants us to analyze and think about what kind of times we live in today.


An Incomplete History of Protest


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