Eunsong Kim on Creative Capital Projects that Established New Narratives for 2001

Artists and their work offer radical counterpoints to mainstream narratives presented by politicians and media. But they need partners to make that work and to be heard. Since its founding, Creative Capital has partnered with individual artists, providing them with support and resources to make work that provides a much-needed critique to power.

Creative Capital has invited 12 arts writers to explore key moments in the history of the Creative Capital Award in celebration of our 20th anniversary in collaboration with the Los Angeles Review of Books. In this month’s essay, Eunsong Kim writes about 2001 awardees, Dread Scott and Gaye Chan—two artists who sought to redefine how we see the dispossessed, including incarcerated individuals and Hawai’i indigenous peoples. These are narratives we recognize today, but, as Kim writes, were new in 2001 when the media was more concerned with the war on terror.

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Kim, a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grantee, explores the political landscape of 2001 and the new narratives created through Scott and Chan’s Creative Capital Projects:

“There are pasts that protract powerfully into the present. Take, for instance, the year 2001. This was the year that the United States — then led by present-day amateur painter George W. Bush — refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change and began providing welfare to corporations under the auspices of “economic growth,” making the most recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and tax breaks for the rich part of an active continuum. 2001 was also the year the “War on Terror” was declared, preceding the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs: a growing accumulation of perpetuated wars. Thus beginning a generation of cameras, phones, and all kinds of information that would live fully and unbeknowingly under the apparatus of the Patriot Act, invented in 2001, recently revived as the “USA Freedom Act” in 2015 into once again, the present. As if on cue, one month after the Patriot Act was installed, television programming began celebrating total surveillance with shows such as 24, fictionalizing a landscape in which the US nation-state could regain control through the use of more torture, more violence…

If 24 and the glorification of perpetual wars were attempted epistemic closures, then Dread Scott’s Lockdown (2000–2004) and Gaye Chan’s Historic Waikiki (2001) offered vents, holes, and openings into history and how its narratives become imagined. Their aesthetic imprinting remains with us today.”


Stay tuned in the following months for 10 more essays looking at Creative Capital Awardees and Projects over the past two decades.

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