Where was this created?
This was photograph was taken when Scott performed in Brooklyn. It was actually under the Manhattan bridge in DUMBO.
Can you tell me more about Dread Scott?
He was born in Chicago in 1965 as Scott Tyler. He assumed the name Dread Scott in reference to the Dred Scott Decision, a court case known officially as Scott v. Sanford and widely known as the worst supreme court decision in US history, including that African Americans could never be citizens. All of its precedents have since been overturned.
Scott works in a wide range of media including performance and photography, like we see here, as well as video, installation, printmaking, and painting.
I've left the Legacy of Lynching exhibit, but I can't stop thinking about the Dread Scott images on display. Can you tell me more about that performance with the firehose?
As you probably know, the use of the firehoses in the performance are a direct reference to firehoses being turned on demonstrators during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Scott's use of them reminds viewers that minorities are still fighting for their rights decades later. He uses the imagery of a single event as a metaphor for the larger and ongoing struggle against racism in the United States.
The stream of water is such visceral image. Maybe it's so shocking because I'm used to seeing archival video—grainy, black and white—so the photos being at this scale and so contemporary is incredibly confrontational in a powerful way.
That's a really interesting and important point. The reenactment brings the event to our own time, makes it familiar and accessible. It also drives home how shocking it really is that firehoses would be used against human beings.
For performance art like this, is it staged and watched in the moment by an audience, or is the intention to document it and put that version on display?
The answer to your question is, it depends. On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide, specifically, was performed for a live audience AND captured photographically.
Incredible. Thank you for this information and for the conversation!
Some of the objects displayed in the Feminist Center for Art are made by men and also do not seem to address feminist concerns. Why is that?
It's a good question. While some do address feminist concerns or even self-identify as feminists, another aspect of their inclusion to consider is a feminist look at their work in terms of curatorial practice rather than solely presentation of feminist art.
Is that true for Dread Scott? I see nothing feminist in this photograph.
My argument for the Dread Scott piece would be that any work which critiques or attempts to dismantle white supremacy in some way intersects with feminism, especially as it concerns black women.
That’s a good argument. Can I steal it? I wouldn’t have thought that carefully!
And why Warhol?
With the Warhol piece, a photograph of a race riot, the same argument could apply.
Yes agreed on Warhol.