Dread Scott’s Visual Ballad to Nina Simone

Air Mail News, April 28, 2023

Scott Tyler was born in 1965 in Hyde Park, Chicago, and had a passion for civil rights from a young age. He first made waves at 23 with his participatory exhibit “What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag,” which invited viewers to step on the American flag while writing comments in a ledger. George H. W. Bush, the president at the time, called the exhibit “disgraceful.” Scott, whose professional name is Dread Scott, was back in the headlines just a few months later: he and three others were arrested for burning the American flag on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Like his namesake, the plaintiff in the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, the contemporary artist found himself at the center of a Supreme Court case. This time, however, the court ruled in favor of the protestors and overturned the Flag Protection Act. At Cristin Tierney, Scott honors the Black jazz singer and civil rights advocate Nina Simone with a series of paintings and screen prints. —P.P.