Dread Scott (billboard)
Artist: Dread Scott
Date of Action: August 2021
Region: North America
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Confronting Bodies: Outfront Media
Description of Artwork: The originally proposed work incorporates a photograph of a flag bearing a message about racial violence on the left-hand side of the billboard, and on the right-hand side, a black background bearing three columns of hashtags with names of innocent African American men and women who have fallen victim to police violence.
The Incident: The work, proposed on behalf of the artist by the arts organization 50/50, was scheduled for display on the billboard at 1628 Wyoming Street. 50/50 leases the billboard from Outfront Media as part of their rotating exhibition program in Kansas City. Outfront Media rejected the artwork because they thought it violated their policy against “negative advertising” as well as the requirement that “ads have to be positive (non-confrontational toward any group or individual) to maintain relationships throughout the community.”
Dread Scott and 50/50 contacted NCAC for assistance. NCAC wrote a letter to Outfront CEO along with a letter from 50/50's lawyer. Dread Scott also proposed a second billboard design as a compromise, which removed the most controversial element, the photograph of the flag, and instead consisted of a black background with four columns memorializing the names of innocent African Americans who died at the hands of police.
Results of Incident: Outfront Media accepted the compromise and the new billboard design went forward.
'A Partial Listing of People Lynched By Police Recently' on view through December 31st for BLACK LIVES MATTER at 50/50 Kansas City.
Images and correspondence between NCAC, the artist and 50/50.