Controversial artist Dread Scott is selling his first-ever NFT at Christie’s, titled “White Man For Sale”.
The artwork is a looping, short video of a white man standing on an auction block on a sidewalk in Brooklyn. According to Scott, he was inspired to make this work when he first heard about the non-fungible tokens. As per him, “fungible” was a word often used by historians about slavery – since humans are inherently fungible, but the concept wasn’t applied to slaves back in the day.
During the slavery era, slaves were divided into ‘tiers’ according to their utility for manual labor. While men in their mid-twenties were considered ‘tier 1’, women, children, the elderly, and men with health issues fell under lower tiers. Through his NFT work, Scott wants to draw a relation between capitalism and slavery in modern times. The NFT work will be auctioned at Christie’s, New York on October 1st.
But this is far from Dread Scott’s most controversial action in his long career. In 1989, Scott published his first paper titled What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag. The paper sparked a national conversation around the desecration and sanctity of the US Flag (and other symbols). In a landmark Supreme Court judgment, Scott was one of the defendants. The court ultimately ruled that the federal laws against the desecration of the US flag were unconstitutional. Over the years, Scott has publicly burned and destroyed many items considered “sacred” in the US, including the flag, US dollars, and Bill of Rights copies.
In 2019, Dread Scott was behind the enactment of the Slave Rebellion around the New Orleans region. The play served as the inspiration for his upcoming solo auction, “We’re Going To End Slavery. Join Us!”. The auction, which will be his first in almost 20 years, will open on September 17 at the Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York.