main gallery ~ Jeff Konigsberg sample and hold ~ click here

project room ~ Dread Scott lockdown

April 1– 26, 2003 -- Artist reception on Friday , April 4th, 5.30 to 7.30 pm

Dread Scott

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CLIFFORD • SMITH GALLERY is pleased to announce a special project exhibition of a work in progress by artist Dread Scott, titled Lockdown. This exhibition is mounted in conjunction with the New Center for Arts and Culture's Words on Fire festival in Boston.

One of the defining features of America today is the criminal-justice system and the many youths whose lives are impacted by it. Lockdown is a photography-based project that tells the story of a society that imprisons over two million people and the viewpoint of those locked down. Dread works with inmates – photographing them and hearing their stories. The project is presented as a series of 20" x 24" black and white photographs accompanied by wall text and audio from the interviews. Lockdown will also be presented as an artist book to be distributed at prisons, urban community centers, and neighborhood art spaces. The project will be completed in Fall 2003.



Dread Scott

untitled (from Lockdown series)


silver gelatin print accompanied by sound and text


20" x 24"




"What do I have? I have nothing but a bunch of anger that's stored up in me feelin' that somebody owes me somethin'. And I'm turnt back to society. So you didn't correct no problem. Which is the name of this institution 'Correctional Facility' and they're not correcting nothing... It's a system that wants to perpetuate failure. I'll keep you in a certain position. I'll keep me a job. It's a vicious cycle of keep him illiterate, and I'll stay in luxury. This is what it boils down to, a have and have-not system."

About Dread Scott

Dread Scott is a multidisciplinary artist whose work addresses questions that are part of the public discourse. He approaches these questions from the standpoint of the oppressed and the "have-nots" and they are often the subject of the work as well. Dread exposes the misery that this society causes for so many people. Because of this, his art has often become part of this public debate. He is always striving to make art in which people see themselves and their world and feel more empowered to change it. Therefore he seeks to make his work accessible both within the "artworld" and to people outside the traditional art audience. Roberta Smith, art critic for the New York Times, has described a recent work as "quite resonant."

He first received national attention when he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). In 1989, his installation for audience participation, What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?, became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag. George H. W. Bush publicly denounced him because of this art and Congress passed legislation that outlawed it. Dread considers each of these actions a tremendous honor. As part of the popular effort to oppose moves to make patriotism compulsory, he, along with three others, burned flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. This resulted in a Supreme Court case, and he was part of organizing and coordinating the nationwide legal and political effort to win this landmark case.

In 1992, he was a fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Studio Program in New York. In 1995, he was awarded a Mid Atlantic / National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship in Photography. In 2000 he participated in the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialog directed By Anna Deavere Smith at Harvard University. That year he also worked on a Special Edition Fellowship at the Lower East Side Printshop. And in 2001 he received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture and a Creative Capital Grant.

His work has been shown in many galleries and museums around the country and internationally. He has also produced outdoor public sculptures as well as several posters which have been pasted on walls around the country. 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. He has been written about in The New York Times, Art In America, ArtNews, The Village Voice, Time, People, The London Guardian and several other newspapers, magazines and books. He works in a variety of media including photography, installation, sculpture, and screenprinting. Recently, as an extension of his art, he helped produce video public service announcements against police brutality which aired on MTV and BET.


About Words on Fire

This Spring, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Nazi Book Burnings in Berlin, the New Center for Arts and Culture launches its inaugural program, Words on Fire, a major eight-week festival that will take place from March 13 through May 11, 2003. Words on Fire is filled with superb and abundant offerings, staged at a variety of locations, including art exhibits, films, lectures and conversations, special events, and community gatherings and celebrations.

Words on Fire explores crucial themes evoked by the book burnings of the 1930's, and why those themes matter now more than ever before. Moreover, this festival celebrates the fire that creates the words and reclaims all voices that cannot be silenced.

The mission of the New Center for Arts and Culture is visionary: to build community by exploring Jewish culture and the interconnectedness of all cultures, creating a dynamic setting that inspires artistic excellence, welcomes diversity, nurtures creativity and encourages participation in the arts and humanities.

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For more information please e-mail the gallery or call 617 695-0255.