Visual artist Dread Scott to give public interview on May 6

Head shot of a black man with dark rimmed, round glasses and a grey goatee.
Visual artist Dread Scott, known for creating works in a range of media that prompt critical conversation about social and historical issues, will give a public interview at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 6, in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium on the University Park campus. The event will include Q&A facilitated by B. Stephen Carpenter II, the Michael J. and Aimee Rusinko Kakos Dean in the College of Arts and Architecture. The event is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Architecture and the College of the Liberal Arts. This in-person event will also be viewable via Zoom. Scott, who has exhibited and performed his works across the United States and internationally, will also serve as the College of Arts and Architecture’s commencement speaker on May 7. In 1989, while Scott was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his art drew national attention over its use of the American flag, which led the U.S. Senate to denounce his work. Scott, like his historical namesake Dred Scott in 1857, became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others challenged the federal law outlawing his art, which he has addressed in a TED Talk. In 2019, Scott presented “Slave Rebellion Reenactment,” a community-engaged project that reenacted the largest rebellion of enslaved people in U.S. history. The project was featured in the national media and highlighted by as one of the most important artworks of the decade. In his artist statement, Scott says, “I make revolutionary art to propel history forward. I look towards an era without exploitation or oppression.” According to Carpenter, Scott’s work is important because it demonstrates the power of visual representation as a means to promote reflection and critical thinking. Scott’s work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, the Walker Art Center, Cristin Tierney Gallery, and Gallery MOMO in Cape Town, South Africa, and is in the collection of the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. He is a 2021 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and has also received fellowships from Open Society Foundations and United States Artists, as well as a Creative Capital grant. “In the College of Arts and Architecture, we are always encouraging our students to push the boundaries and to question assumptions, particularly through visual, symbolic and embodied representation,” said Carpenter. “Dread Scott has spent his entire career pushing and questioning. His works require viewers to think about structures – literal and figurative, historical and contemporary – and our relationships to them. We are excited to have a visual artist like Dread Scott engage with the Penn State community and are thrilled to co-sponsor this public presentation with the College of the Liberal Arts.”

Schools and Departments: School of Visual Arts
Unit Research: A&A Sustainability
Architecture Clusters: Sustainability (SUS)