On October 1, following the September opening of We're Going to End Slavery. Join Us!, Dread Scott's first solo gallery exhibition in more than 20 years, Cristin Tierney Gallery and Christie's announce the auction of the artist's new conceptual NFT project, White Male for Sale. This new digital project harnesses the artistic medium of the moment--the NFT--to deliver a powerful visual statement from within the context of a live auction. The NFT, which is linked to a perpetually looped 00:01:10 minute video of a white male standing on an auction block, will be featured within Christie's Post-War to Present sale on October 1 in New York. The final act of selling the NFT at auction will complete the performance of Scott's conceptual work.
Scott's innovative NFT makes the medium itself an inherent and essential part of his conceptual project. The artist was initially inspired to create White Male for Sale by the meaning of NFT: Non-Fungible Token. As the artist explains, "The term fungible resonated differently for me due to its use by scholars of the history of slavery. People are inherently non-fungible. But as slavery became an integral part of developing capitalism, enslavers sought to make people fungible."
Throughout the 16th to 18th centuries the Portuguese and Spanish used a system called Pieza de India ("piece of India") through which people were quantified and valued in relation to an idealized slave--or a "piece of India." Later, in the ledgers of 18th to 19th century American enslavers, people are often referred to as No. 1 slaves, No. 2 slaves, etc.--a means by which unique people could be dehumanized and compared to others, and thus turned into human commodities. For example, a 35-year-old male carpenter could be equated to a 20-year-old, possibly unskilled woman with two children.
White Male for Sale takes this history as a point of departure. During much of the history of America, enslaved people were sold at auction. Frequently these auctions would take place on a street corner, with advertisements announcing the sale. The enslaved person would be made to stand on a block as they were auctioned.
The video of White Male for Sale is a slow motion shot of a nondescript white male in a typical middle-class work shirt and pants. He stands relatively motionless on an auction block as the residents of a predominately Black Brooklyn neighborhood pass by, going about their day without acknowledging him. The video seamlessly loops; the auction goes on in perpetuity, questioning the intertwined history of slavery, capitalism, and the ideology of white supremacy. To extend the conceptual project and provide a global platform for this powerful conceptual work, the artist has partnered with Christie's to feature the NFT within its first major contemporary art sale of the fall season, and place it within the context of a live auction.
Exhibition Dates and Locations
Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York: September 14-30, 2021
Christie's, Rockefeller Center, New York: September 25-30, 2021
Post-War to Present, October 1, 2021 at 10am EDT
Rockefeller Center, New York
View online at www.christies.com
More NFT info: NFT Basics and Background
Abby Addams, Blue Medium | firstname.lastname@example.org |+1-212-675-1800
Sara Fox, Christie's | email@example.com |+1-212-636-2680
About the Artist
Dread Scott (b. 1965, Chicago, IL) is an interdisciplinary artist who for three decades has made work that encourages viewers to re-examine cohering ideals of American society. In 1989, the US Senate outlawed his artwork and President Bush declared it "disgraceful" because of its transgressive use of the American flag. Dread became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others burned flags on the steps of the Capitol. He has presented a TED talk on this.
His art has been exhibited at MoMA/PS1, The Walker Art Center, and street corners across the country. He is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow and the 2019 Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellow and has received fellowships from United States Artists and Creative Capital Foundation. His art is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. His studio is in Brooklyn.
About Cristin Tierney Gallery
Founded in 2010, Cristin Tierney Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located on The Bowery with a deep commitment to the presentation, development and support of a roster of both established and emerging artists. Its program emphasizes artists engaged with critical theory and art history, with an emphasis on conceptual, video, and performance art. Education and audience engagement is central to our mission. Cristin Tierney Gallery is a member of the ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America).
Founded in 1766, Christie's is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie's offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie's has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).
Recent innovations at Christie's include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple's Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie's also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats.
Christie's is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.