Common Ground

Bodies and Masks as NFTs: where art, blockchain, and capitalism collide

Featuring Brendan Fernandes, Dread Scott, and Charlotte Kent


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artists Brendan Fernandes and Dread Scott join Rail Editor-at-Large Charlotte Kent for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Shanekia McIntosh.

In this talk

Can blockchain art challenge racist ideologies? Does the circulation of NFTs enable or rupture capitalist markets? Is there a way for artists to intervene in the prevailing prejudicial structures or do they consume even the best intentions? In the next installment of ongoing conversations on blockchain, artists Brendan Fernandes and Dread Scott discuss their recent NFTs to address these questions with Rail Editor-at-Large Charlotte Kent, PhD.

Brendan Fernandes

Headshot of Brendan Fernandes
Internationally recognized Canadian artist Brendan Fernandes (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) works at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Brendan’s projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest and other forms of collective movement. Brendan’s projects take on hybrid forms: part ballet, part queer dance party, part politic protest, but always rooted in collaboration and solidarity. Brendan has received the Artadia Award (2019), a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2020) and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant (2019). His projects have shown at the 2019 Whitney Biennial (New York) and the Guggenheim Museum (New York) among many others. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University.

Dread Scott

Headshot of Dread Scott
Interdisciplinary artist Dread Scott (b. 1965, Chicago, IL) creates work that encourages viewers to re-examine cohering 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. Dread became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others burned flags on the steps of the Capitol, about which he has presented a TED talk. His art has been exhibited at MoMA/PS1, CAM St. Louis, Kunsthal KAdE (Amersfoort, Netherlands) and many others. In 2021, Scott received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. This past December, ARTnews named his NFT White Male for Sale a defining artwork of 2021. His studio is in Brooklyn, NY.

Charlotte Kent

Charlotte Kent
Associate professor of visual culture at Montclair State University Charlotte Kent, PhD, has a particular interest in historical frameworks for art practices, with a research focus on contemporary digital culture and the absurd. She writes for assorted magazines and various academic journals. She is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Shanekia McIntosh reading.

Shanekia McIntosh

Portrait of Shanekia McIntosh.
Photo by Tschabalala Self
Poet and performer Shanekia McIntosh creates interdisciplinary work inspired by the black diaspora. She aims to disrupt and confront historical colonial erasure utilizing the thematic palettes of dislocation, trauma, migration, climate crisis and afro-futurism. Her work has been featured in the New Museum, Second Ward Foundation, Charim Galerie, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s TBA Festival, Hudson Hall, NY Live Arts, ICA at VCU, Basilica Hudson and more, with recent work being published in Chronogram, Apogee Journal and The TENTH Magazine. Her debut chapbook, Spiral as Ritual, was released December 2021 by Topos Press.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.