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Dread Scott, Burning  the U.S. Constitution, 2011
Dread Scott, Burning the U.S. Constitution, 2011

DREAD SCOTT BLAZES INTO THE NEW YEAR

Dec. 22, 2011

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We can expect at least one artist to ring in the New Year with a bang. In an email announcing a new roster of exhibitions beginning in January, multimedia protest artist Dread Scott declared, “as usual, I’m playing with fire.”

First is a group photography show titled “Redux,” at Cristin Tierney, Jan. 6-Feb. 4, 2012, for which Scott has contributed a three-panel C-print, Burning the Constitution. Just as it sounds, it’s a documentation of the artist standing against a brick wall, sporting a Mohawk and all black clothing, burning a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

As a student at the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1980s, Scott famously laid an American flag on the floor of a gallery and invited visitors to walk over it in order to read a document attached to the wall. The work led to outcry from veterans, including one who stole the flag from the floor, and prompted more than one death threat to the artist.

For the Constitution burning, Scott took his inspiration from Ai Weiwei’s 2010 desecration of a different nationalist symbol, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn. Other artists in "Redux" are Matt Calderwood, Joe Fig, Malia Jensen, Alois Kronschlaeger, Simon Lee and Jean Shin.

Then, at the Austrian Cultural Forum, Scott presents his video Money to Burn (2010), taken from a performance last June for which he burned his own currency, as well as bills from onlookers, in front of the New York Stock Exchange. It is part of the exhibition, “It’s the Political Economy Stupid,” Jan. 23-Apr. 22, 2012, a group show inspired by the now famous quote from Bill Clinton’s campaign, “It’s the economy stupid.”

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