Dread Scott’s Visual Ballad to Nina Simone

Briana Ellis-Gibbs, Hyperallergic, March 8, 2023

The African-American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist Nina Simone has inspired artist Dread Scott for years. In an exhibition at New York’s Cristin Tierney Gallery opening April 28, Goddam, his art will now be in conversation with Simone’s music. The show will feature screenprints and paintings inspired by four of her revolutionary songs: “Mississippi Goddamn” (1964), “Four Women” (1966), “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free” (1967), and “Pirate Jenny” (1964). 


Simone is “a badass … an OG,” Scott says. “I mean, she’s really skilled as a pianist, but the questions that she decided to take on really speak powerfully to the conditions of people but also their strivings to be free,” Scott continued. “And there’s a tremendous amount of heart in her work. I wanted to pay tribute and sort of lift up some of her songs, but also connect people with some of [her] important ideas. I felt like the time had come.”