Artnet Talks: A Conversation With Shaun Leonardo, Dread Scott, and Clifford Owens on Art as an Act of Resistance

Join the free conversation on Zoom on June 24 at 6 p.m.

Graphic by Grier Filley for Artnet News.

Introducing Artnet Talks from Artnet News, a new series of live conversations between artists, curators, gallerists, and arts professionals that brings an in-depth dimension to our usual coverage of the art world’s biggest stories. Artnet News has always existed to read, write, and report—now, it’s time to talk.

Our first talk, “Art as an Act of Resistance: A Conversation With Shaun Leonardo, Dread Scott, and Clifford Owens,” will be held on Zoom on Wednesday, June 24, at 6 p.m. 

From left: Clifford Owens (photo by Karina Aguilera Skvirsky), Shaun Leonardo (photo by Lelanie Foster), Dread Scott (photo by Sebastian Kim).

As a seemingly endless stream of images of police violence and protest fill our screens, Scott, Leonardo, and Owens have been among the many engaged artists working to address those images, and to contend with the nation’s legacy of racism through their work. During the talk, these three artists will share their views on the intersections of performance art and protest, the effects of images of Black suffering, and the future of social responsibility in the art world. Click the link below to register.



Clifford Owens is a transdisciplinary artist. He makes photographs, performance art, works on paper, videos, installations, and texts. His art has appeared in many solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. Owens’s solo museum exhibitions include “Anthology” at MoMA PS1, “Better the Rebel You Know at Home” in Manchester, England, and “Perspectives 173: Clifford Owens” at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and group exhibitions of his work include “Freestyle,” “Greater New York 2005,” and “Performance Now: The First Decade of the New Century.” His performance-based projects have been widely presented in museums and galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Shaun Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, is a recipient of support from Creative Capital, Guggenheim Social Practice, Art for Justice, and A Blade of Grass, and was recently profiled in the New York Times. His work has been featured at the Guggenheim Museum, the High Line, and New Museum, with a recent solo exhibition at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). From fall 2018 through spring 2020, Leonardo enacted socially engaged projects at Pratt Institute’s School of Art as a visiting fellow.

Dread Scott is an interdisciplinary artist whose art encourages viewers to re-examine ideals of American society. In 1989, the US Senate outlawed his artwork and President Bush declared it “disgraceful” because of its transgressive use of the American flag. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, MoMA PS1, the Walker Art Center, and in galleries and on street corners. He is a 2019 Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellow and has received grants from United States Artists and the Creative Capital Foundation. Artnet News highlighted his 2019 performance, Slave Rebellion Reenactment, as one of the most important artworks of the decade.

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