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by Dread Scott



Plans is a collection of Microsoft Word Docs, an Adobe Illustrator file & a PDF by artist Dread Scott. Filled with notes, research materials, outlines, and ideas concerning his performances and installations about African-American life both past and present, Plans offers rare insights into his creative process. The collection manifests different ways in which Scott envisions, researches, and formulates his provocative works throughout the various stages and reveals the thread that binds his most notorious works, such as Money to Burn, Dread Scott: Decision, On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide, in which he was sprayed with a hose by a fireman to recreate the treatment of protesters in 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, and his upcoming reenactment of the 1811 slave revolt in New Orleans.

Plans makes plain Scott’s focus and usage of the body—specifically the black body—as an essential part of his art making. This emphasis follows a storied and important lineage that includes the work of David Hammons as well as Lorraine O’Grady’s Mlle Bourgeoise Noire persona. They are also related to the highly physical work of Sherman Fleming, William Pope.L, Clifford Owens, and Ulysses Jenkins’s hybrid performance/video work. His “Text pieces” doc in Plans also echoes another tradition in contemporary art: the succinct, direct, and pungent language of activism that can be found in Jenny Holzer, Glenn Ligon, Barbara Kruger, and Adrian Piper's text works. Scott’s interest in revealing what is truly present through the past can finally be linked thematically to that of Terry Adkins, who shed light on unsung black lives from history. The spirit of Dread Scott’s work—as manifest in Plans—is an urgent and valuable voice of resistance in these great times.

This work is part of the series Files, available exclusively on Badlands’s website. Artists in the 21st century have a multitude of technological options for creating artworks. Using a computer, artists now print paintings, extrude sculptures from plastic compounds, even automate entire performances from a laptop. But whatever the form the work finally takes, it was first and foremost a file—a computer file that the artist created in order to control and direct the devices at her disposal. Artists using technology are all, in this regard, filemakers.

A file is the work before the work. It is the “score” that directs the printer, or projector, or speaker to create the form of expression we experience. And as such, artist files hold immense value and potential in contemporary culture. They are works in their own right that illuminate the sensibilities and ideas of some of the most compelling artists working today.

Each file is created by the artist and is saved as a document derived from the originating software that the artist used to create the file and subsequent work. As an essential element of the final work, the file is unique in how it manifests the “spirit” of what the work ends up becoming.

Please read the terms of agreement before purchasing. By downloading this file you have declared that you have read and agreed to the terms.

If you are an institutional purchaser, the cost of a digital license is $1000 for a ten (10) year license. Please select Institutional purchase on BUY NOW button above. If Purchaser’s institution intends to use a Download as a college course offered for credit or non-credit, whether in an online, hybrid, broadcast, or video based format, then payment of Course License Fees or Student Only Fees will apply.


Microsoft Word Docs, Adobe Illustrator File & PDF

1.5 MB

Downloaded as a specially designed disk image installer (.dmg). Recommended for Apple computers.


Dread Scott

Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. He first received national attention in 1989 when his art became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. President G.H.W. Bush called his art “disgraceful” and the entire US Senate denounced this work and outlawed it when they passed legislation to “protect the flag.”

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 on view in America is Hard to See, the Whitney Museum's inaugural exhibition in their new building. In 2012, BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, presented his performance Dread Scott: Decision as part of their 30th Anniversary Next Wave Festival.

Jack Shainman and Winkleman Gallery 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, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Akron Art Museum.

He is a recipient of a Creative Capital Foundation grant, a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, a Socially Engaged Artists Fellowship from A Blade of Grass Foundation and Fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has been invited to numerous artists residencies, including at the McColl Center for Art & Innovation and the Workspace Residency of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He works in a range of media including performance, photography, installation, screen-printing and video. His works can be hard-edged and poignant. He plays with fire—metaphorically and sometimes literally—as when he burned $171 on Wall Street and encouraged those with money to burn to add theirs to the pyre.

He has been written about in The New York Times, Art In America, Sculpture Magazine, ArtNews, ArtForum, Art21 Magazine, Time, The London Guardian and several other newspapers, magazines and books. He has appeared on numerous local and national TV and radio shows including Oprah, The Today Show, and CBS This Morning speaking about his work and the controversy surrounding it.

His work has been integrated into academic curricula and What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag? is discussed in many art history classes and is featured in Henry Sayer’s “foundations” text A World of Art.

He serves on the Board of Directors for the New York Foundation for the Arts.