Newspeak: Ignorance is Strength, from the Newspeak installation, Dread Scott
PROPELLING HISTORY FORWARD
Revolutionary artist Dread Scott examines racial and cultural disparity in contemporary society
GLASSBORO, NJ – Renowned for making “revolutionary art to propel history forward,” acclaimed American artist Dread Scott, in his first New Jersey one person exhibition, opens the Rowan University Art Gallery at High Street’s new season with A Sharp Divide, an exhibition that tackle the racial and cultural disparities within our criminal justice system. The exhibit is on display from September 6 – November 5, 2016.
An artist’s presentation and panel discussion with Dread Scott, presented by the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution, is scheduled for September 15 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in Eynon Ballroom, located in the Student Center on the university’s Glassboro campus. A reception to welcome the exhibition follows from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at the High Street gallery, 301 West High Street in Glassboro. Shuttle service between the Student Center and the gallery will be provided to students and the public following the panel discussion.
The exhibit serves as a survey of Dread Scott’s public engagement, performance-based, and multi media based works, completed from 1987 – 2014. In examining racial disparities, the work explores the complexities of the criminal justice system such as the criminalization of youth, profiling and discrimination, stop and frisk tactics, and other civil rights issues. The selected pieces include video, photography, recordings, and audience interactions.
“This is a world of profound polarization, exploitation, and suffering and billions are excluded from intellectual development and full participation in society,” Dread Scott explains. “It does not have to be this way and my art is part of forging a radically different world.”
He notes that his work “illuminates the misery that this society creates for so many people and it often encourages the viewer to envision how the world could be.”
Dread Scott works in a range of media including performance, photography, screen printing, video, installation and painting. His works can be hard-edged and poignant. His art has been exhibited at the MoMA PS1; the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston; The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; the Pori Art Museum in Finland; and in the Whitney Museum’s inaugural exhibition at their new building. The Brooklyn Academy of Music presented his performance Dread Scott: Decision as part of their 30th Anniversary Next Wave Festival, and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts presented Dread Scott: Welcome to America. Recent work has been presented in several showings in New York and his sculptures have been installed at Logan Square in Philadelphia.
He first received national attention in 1989 when his art became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag. He was denounced by the President and the United States Senate, which soon after passed legislation to “protect the flag.” His opposition to this law resulted in a Supreme Court case and a landmark First Amendment decision.
Dread Scott is the recipient of a Creative Capital Foundation grant; a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant; fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts; and was a resident at Art Omi International Artists Residency and the Workspace Residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Additionally, his work has been integrated into academic curricula, discussed in art history classes, and featured in Henry M. Sayre’s “foundations” text, A World of Art (7th Edition).
Headshot Dread Scott
The gallery is located at 301 High Street. Free public parking is available on High Street and neighboring streets. Municipal parking areas are available off Lake Street (behind Little Beefs Deli) and near the Barnes and Noble shopping complex between New Street and Rowan Blvd.
Admission to the gallery, lecture, and reception is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday – Saturday, 10 to 7 pm. Directions can be found on the gallery website. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit www.rowan.edu/artgallery.
Support for programming at Rowan University Art Galleries has been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Thank you to Mary Salvante, Rowan University Art Gallery at High Street, for the content of this post.