Artist Dread Scott's recent large-scale art project, Slave Rebellion Reenactment (2019), is a community-engaged performance reenacting the largest rebellion of enslaved people in U.S. history. Professor Erin Gray, UC Davis, researches the production of racist and anti-racist epistemologies in a range of aesthetic practices from the 19th century to the present. Presented as part of the Visualizing Abolition series, join this far-reaching conversation about art, history, revolutions, and reenactments.
FREE and open to the public
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About the Speakers
Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. His work is exhibited across the U.S. and internationally. In 1989, his art became the center of national controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag, while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. President G.H.W. Bush called his art “disgraceful” and the entire U.S. Senate denounced and outlawed this work. Scott became part of a landmark United States Supreme Court case when he and others defied the new law by burning flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Scott’s studio is now based in Brooklyn, New York.
Dr. Erin Gray is a writer, educator, and activist currently living in occupied Huichin (Oakland, California). Gray is an assistant professor of Black Literary and Cultural Studies in the English Department at UC Davis, where she writes and teaches at the intersections of critical theory and visual and performance studies to interrogate the aesthetic production of racist and anti-racist thought. Gray's current book project, The Moving Image of Lynching: Liberalizing Racial Terror in the Long Photographic Century, theorizes the co-emergence and continuing imbrication of lynch law and racial liberalism as constitutive elements of U.S imperial power. Her co-edited anthology, The Black Radical Tradition in the United States, is forthcoming from Verso Press in 2021. She has published essays in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Open Letter: A Canadian Journal of Writing and Theory, The International Feminist Journal of Politics, Truthout, and Viewpoint.
About the Series
Visualizing Abolition is a series of online events organized by Dr. Rachel Nelson, director of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, and Gina Dent, associate professor of feminist studies. The events feature artists, activists, and scholars united by their commitment to the vital struggle for prison abolition. Originally, Visualizing Abolition was being planned as an in-person symposium. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the panels, artist talks, film screenings, and other events will instead take place online. The events accompany Barring Freedom, an exhibition of contemporary art on view at San José Museum of Art October 30, 2020–April 25, 2021. To accompany the exhibition, Solitary Garden, a public art project about mass incarceration and solitary confinement is on view at UC Santa Cruz.
Visualizing Abolition is organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences in collaboration with San José Museum of Art and Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. The series has been generously funded by the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, UCSC Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.
Partners include: Howard University School of Law, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Indexical, The Humanities Institute, University Library, University Relations, Institute for Social Transformation, Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Porter College, the Center for Cultural Studies, the Center for Creative Ecologies, and Media and Society, Kresge College.
image: Dread Scott and Erin Gray