Dread Scott, an inaugural Antenna::Spillways Artist-in-Residence, will speak at the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Friday Nights at NOMA at 6:30 pm on May 27. Scott will discuss the development of his current magnum opus in progress: Slave Rebellion Reenactment. Admission is $10.50, but the event is free for NOMA Members and $5 for Antenna::Signals Subscribers.
CPInprint will publish Scott’s Fragments of the Peculiar Institution this June. The work includes his plans for the Slave Rebellion Reenactment, as well as a collection of contemporary and historical texts, documents, and images that examine the institution of slavery in the United States and its cultural heritage.
In this collection, Scott focuses on the most notable aspects of slavery in America beginning with its institutionalization within the Constitution. He explores the history of slave auctions, plantation culture, slave rebellions, the Dred Scott Decision, and the Civil War. He also offers a critical analysis of the mass media representations of this history.
Scott says of the publication, “Fragments of the Peculiar Institution is a glimpse into my ongoing attempt to understand more about slavery. It excerpts my effort to grapple with our present by looking at America’s past.”
Fragments of the Peculiar Institution serves as groundwork for a larger conversation about the significance of slavery and its implications in today’s society. The publication also includes a long-form interview with Scott concerning his project, Slave Rebellion Reenactment (SRR), which is a conceptual community-engaged performance that will restage and reinterpret Louisiana’s German Coast Uprising of 1811. This was the largest rebellion of enslaved people in North American history and took place in a 26-mile procession from LaPlace to Kenner, LA. SRR will animate a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize, take up arms, and seize Orleans Territory, to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery.
“While [SRR] is actually about freedom and emancipation, to make the work requires delving deeper into slavery,” Scott says. “I have books about slave markets with passages underlined about how slaves were defined as real estate in Louisiana law, photographs of slave cabins, and newspaper clippings of photographs of enslaved people. They constitute an archive of notes, sketches, books, and images that reflect my efforts to understand a horror and brutality that defined the past and was commonplace and natural then as ten-percent of young Black men imprisoned is to many people now.”
Dread Scott is an artist whose work is rooted in the efforts of protest and revolutionary change. His work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Walker Art Center and at the Pori Art Museum in Pori, Finland as well as on view in America is Hard to See, the Whitney Museum’s inaugural exhibition in their new building. In 2012, BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) presented his performance Dread Scott: Decision as part of their 30th Anniversary Next Wave Festival. In 2008, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts presented Dread Scott: Welcome to America. Winkleman Gallery and Cristin Tierney 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. His work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art (NY) and the Akron Art Museum (OH).