Money to Burn (2010)

Dread Scott confronts the politics of capitalism in Money to Burn (2010). Performed on Wall Street in New York City, Scott repeatedly sings the phrase “Money to burn” while lighting currency on fire. The currency that Scott burns includes his personal money, grant money awarded by Franklin Furnace, and donated money from pedestrians. His gesture of burning currency—an action that is considered a crime in the United States under Title 18, Section 333—illuminates the epidemic of income inequality and signals an economic system not based on profit. It is important to note that Scott does not exchange any money during the performance for goods or services. Rather, the pyre of dollar bill ashes becomes a site for the public to imagine an economy outside of capital gain. After twenty-five minutes of performing this public intervention, the New York Police Department shut down Scott’s performance and cited him a ticket for “disorderly conduct.”

DREAD SCOTT makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. Scott works in a range of media including performance, installation, photography, screen-printing, and video. His artwork illuminates the oppressive structures forged by society and challenges the audience to envision a world where justice prevails. Scott has exhibited at the Cristin Tierney Gallery, MoMA PS1, Whitney Museum of American Art, Winkleman Gallery, Walker Art Center, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Pori Art Museum. He has presented Dread Scott: Welcome to America (2008) at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and Dread Scott: Decision (2012) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Scott’s artwork is included in collections at the New Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Akron Art Museum. His public sculptures are installed at Logan Square in Philadelphia and Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. Scott has received grants from Creative Capital, Franklin Furnace, and Pollock-Krasner Foundation. He has also been awarded fellowships for his work from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Scott has been an artist-in-residence at Omi International Arts Center and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.