If you don’t know the work of Gil Scott-Heron, just listen for a few seconds to find out what you’ve been missing.
The poet and musician died last week in New York. The news spread from Twitter to the Times to text messages among Nasher Museum staff. Scott-Heron’s music continued to play in one of the museum’s galleries, as part of a work of video art.
The powerful 2006 video, “Winter in America,” by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Kambui Olujimi, takes its name from Scott-Heron’s 1974 album, “Winter in America.” Scott-Heron’s song accompanies the video’s ending.
“All I can say about Gil Scott-Heron is that everything that needed to be said about him and the world he lived in — he said,” Hank Willis Thomas wrote to us in an email. “He did with music what I could only hope to do so sincerely with art.”
The video is on view at the Nasher Museum through August 14, 2011.
Read Scott-Heron’s obituary in The New York Times. He released his last album, “I’m New Here,” last year. Here is the remix version by Jamie xx. Check out some YouTube links on the Turntable Lab blog. And here is a New Yorker feature from 2010.
Hank Willis Thomas and Kambui Olujimi, “Winter in America,” 2006 (still). DVD, single-channel video projection; 4:05 minute loop. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Fund for Acquisitions, with additional funds provided by William and Ruth True, 2009.2.1. Image courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.