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Dread Scott Flags Acquired by MCA San Diego and Whitney Museum

According to Alex Greenberger of Artnews, two of artist Dread Scott’s flags, titled A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday, were acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The MCA San Diego purchased a banner from a twenty-five-work edition made in 2017 and the Whitney Museum is in the process of acquiring a flag from a four-work series from 2015, one of which hung outside of the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York last year. The work is currently featured in the institution’s exhibition “An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017.”

The piece was inspired by the NAACP flag, A Man Was Lynched Yesterday, that flew outside its headquarters in 1936 after A. L. McCamy was lynched in Dalton, Georgia. Scott recreated the flag after Walter L. Scott was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in South Carolina in 2015. He modified the phrasing of the original flag by adding the words “by police.”

The raising of the flag by Jack Shainman Gallery was viewed as controversial since it coincided with the killing of policemen in Dallas. After Fox News published an article on July 11 stating that the gallery was standing by a work that “accuses police of lynching African Americans” in the wake of the murder of five officers, Scott and the gallery began receiving threats. Jack Shainman was forced to remove the flag from the exterior of the building shortly after when its landlord threatened to sue.