Editor's
Note

In April 1993 the orioles returned with birdsong as amber as their flaring feathers, heralding springtime in Southern California. Concurrently, Charles Gaines prepared to unveil The Theater of Refusal: Black Art and Mainstream Criticism at UC Irvine, which would later travel to UC Davis and UC Riverside. Boldly announcing an exigency (i.e. a galvanizing urgency), the exhibition was a clarion call in its own right, signifying not a change in seasons as in the case of the orioles but rather a deepened dawn in the long lineage of Black insurgence regarding the terms with which Black contemporary artists' work is critically considered. Nearly three decades later, we re-orbit and honor Gaines’s salient offering, which serves as the titular and conceptual framework for Issue 003.

Including artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Renée Green, David Hammons, Ben Patterson, Adrian Piper, Sandra Rowe, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Pat Ward Williams, and Fred Wilson, The Theater of Refusal sought to “reveal the strategies of marginalization in the critical writing about a group of contemporary black artists, and to propose an alternative.” Gaines was invested in examining the discursive dynamic behind the tendency of “mainstream” critics to reduce the work of “contemporary black artists” to the task of chronicling the so-called ‘Black experience,’ thereby neglecting their vital bearing on broader cultural and art historical discourses.

To do so, Gaines rebuked conventional exhibition etiquette by hanging excerpts of articles addressing the work of those in the show in proximity to the artworks themselves—sometimes eye-to-eye, so close we might imagine they could feel one another’s exhales. Establishing a spatial (and, thus, ideological) tension between the criticism and its so-called subject, the curatorial framework encouraged the audience to close-read for over-determinations and discrepancies between the forms themselves and the language coalesced around them. Gaines describes the exhibition as a means to “sugges[t] that the critical environment surrounding the works of these artists intentionally and unintentionally limits those works, creating a theater of refusal that punishes the work of black artists by making it immune to history and by immunizing history against it.” Alas, we remain in dire need of a lexicon that seeks not to “[punish] the work of black artists” by way of critical silence or flatness but, rather, one that entangles such work and the wide horizon of being from which it springs (i.e. the longwash of history, our shared and singular inheritances).

Responding also to the continued seizure of access to materials that aid and abet a critic's capacity to tell the unflinching truth (see: book bans, the defunding of libraries…) and the related diminution of the scope of the sayable, we propose an enactment of cultural criticism that aspires to evade capture, constriction, and censorship. With this context and Gaines’s imperative to "propose an alternative" in mind, Issue 003: The Theater of Refusal will unfold out in the open through a series of free public programs in our anchor cities of Chicago and New York, as well as Detroit and Los Angeles—our midwestern and coastal kin, respectively.

Ultimately, this experi(mental/ential) issue seeks to provide a terrain on which we might rearticulate Gaines's mood of skepticism around traditional criticism and vivify, in the now, the legacy of enacting cultural criticism beyond the page (think: the kitchen table / 135th and Lennox / Black Twitter / the cookout and church pews / the block, the bus stop, the barbershop...) such that we may improvise together toward refracted understandings of who we imagine as “critics,” what we denote as “criticism,” and in what locales we presume this work takes place.

Signature of CamilleCamille Bacon
Signature of DariaDaria Simone Harper

UPCOMING PROGRAMMING

07.14.2024 - 08.25.2024

Black Entanglements

Blanc Gallery — 4445 S Martin Luther King Dr, Chicago, IL 60653


“Tenderness is what spurs motion into movement, desire into affirmative risk, and improvisation into rhythm.“ — Maya Cade

Black Entanglements builds on Jupiter's inaugural film series No One Is Going To Mythologize My Life (after Kathleen Collins). Here we draw from Maya Cade's research around tenderness in Black film to consider the kaleidoscopic nature of Black intimacies by traversing the resuscitative valences of sisterhood (DRYLONGSO)‚ the “one night stand“ as its own sanctified experiment in affection (Medicine for Melancholy), queer desire as negotiated against the backdrop of a broader social, material and political matrix (Rafiki), and the enmeshment between self, spirit, and society (Atlantiques). Each screening will begin with an offering of lyrical responses and questions by Prof. AE Stevenson and Denny Mwaura for guests to consider as they watch.


— July 14: DRYLONGSO by Cauleen Smith
— July 28: Medicine for Melancholy by Barry Jenkins
— August 11: Rafiki by Wanuri Kahiu
— August 25: Atlantiques by Mati Diop


RSVP HERE

PAST PROGRAMMING

06.08.2024 | 3pm-6pm

Embodied Poetics: A Movement & Writing Workshop

ADANNE BOOKSHOP — 115 Ralph Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11221


Join us for Embodied Poetics: a two-part program organized in collaboration with Aimee Meredith Cox and Yusuf Hassan (BlackMass Publishing).


In its purest forms, art draws one nearer to the deep corners of the self. Through each encounter with an art object—visual, sonic, performance, and beyond—we're beckoned toward a journey of self-discovery. We're granted permission to dive into the abyss of what it means to make new meaning. When we peer into a work, truths about our reality and the world around us are often revealed and reflected back to us with immense clarity.


Embodied Poetics invites guests to practice the revelatory form of self-portraiture by way of language and ekphrastic interpretation. In her poem, the message from "The Ones," visionary poet and writer Lucille Clifton reminds us: "pay attention to / what sits inside yourself / and watches you." Guided by Clifton's prescient words and several additional prompts, guests will develop either a single textual offering, or a collection of several, to take with them following the workshop. Binding methods will be available should guests wish to compile their texts into a zine or booklet, with support from Yusuf.


The workshop will commence with a forty-five minute Embodied Poetics yoga session led by anthropologist, writer, and movement artist Aimee Meredith Cox , such that guests may approach the page feeling acutely attuned to their somatic reality. With this in mind, be sure to dress in something that you'll be comfortable moving in.


What to bring:
— Image or memory of an artwork
— A favorite writing utensil
— Yoga mat

06.20.2024 | 6pm-9pm

'A Sword With Two Edges' / On The Theater of Refusal

REPARATIONS CLUB — 3054 S Victoria Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90016


Join us on June 20, 2024 for 'A Sword With Two Edges' / On The Theater of Refusal: a conversation between Jupiter co-founders Camille Bacon and Daria Simone Harper, moderated by curator-writer Taylor Renee Aldridge.


The dialogue will orbit around the art historical referent for Issue 003's conceptual framing (Charles Gaines's 1993 exhibition The Theater of Refusal, from which this issue borrows its title), the risk and ecstasy of transgressing traditional forms of cultural criticism like the “essay” or “review,” and strategies Camille, Daria, and Taylor use to attend to culturally specific histories, lineages, and aesthetic movements, while simultaneously refusing to be pigeonholed.


Ignited by Gaines's remark that “marginalization is a sword with two edges: as we use it to attack racism, we wound our villain with each downstroke, but each time we raise the sword for another blow, we wound ourselves,” they will also explore their shared skepticism around the inheritance of language and practices that revolve around “representation” and consider how it aids and abets the performance and spectacle rather than the enactment of “progress.”


07.06.2024 | 11am-2pm & 6pm-12am

Precious

About Print

Black Art Library at THE SHEPHERD — 1265 Parkview St, Detroit, MI 48214 & PERIODICALS — 4892 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48208


Organized in response to an enduring curiosity around the roots and resonances of our attachment to print media, its capacity to reshape imaginaries and material realities alike, and our anxiety around ongoing attempts to jeopardize our access to the physical written word (see: book bans, the defunding of libraries…), we invite you to join on July 6, 2024 for Precious About Print: a two-part program organized by Camille Bacon and Daria Simone Harper (Jupiter) in collaboration with Detroit-based print loyalists Asmaa Walton (Black Art Library), Aleiya Olu (Periodicals), and Aa Print & Publishing (André Moore).


Rooted in Audre Lorde's provocation: “we have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit,” Precious About Print seeks to illuminate, revere, and between engaging with print media (ex. books, zines, newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines) and the habituation of tenderness.


We will begin on the East Side at The Shepherd, where a selection of texts culled from Black Art Library's collection are housed. Asmaa will guide us on a retelling of the library's origin story, her curatorial ethos, and her “interest in preserving history by preserving art publications,” after which we'll spend time with the texts on-site which “detail many art styles as well as movements, how-to books on art techniques, books on architecture, art magazines, and so much more” and “relate to artists that are from Michigan or are connected in some way.”


Following the tour, we will convene at the Charles McGee Legacy Park (located at The Shepherd as well) where Camille, Daria, Asmaa, Aleiya, and André will muse about the entanglement between spending time with print media and the enactment of tenderness, the history and contemporary state of Black publishing in the Midwest, and their own personal affinities for touching that which they are learning with, from, and alongside. This portion of the program is BYOB (bring your own blanket) as we will be seated on the lawn amongst sculptures. Accessible seating will be available as well.


In the evening, we will gather on the West Side at Periodicals “where guests can explore a curated selection of independent print media from the personal collections of Jupiter Magazine, Aleiya, Asmaa, and André. Designed as a public gathering space, this reading room is dedicated to archival media that has helped shape this exciting moment in print.” To close the loop, we welcome guests to stay and dance to sets by KESSWA, Zoe Talley, SABETYE, and Kem Kem.


07.09.2024 | 6pm-9pm

Apophenia:

Anatomy of a Prayer

ARTS + PUBLIC LIFE — 301 E Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL 60637


Join us for apophenia: anatomy of a prayer: a program organized in collaboration with Victor Musoni and Ireon Roach.


"What is a prayer, but a question without structure? What is a poem but pre-incarnation punctuation, your own hand's hire for an answer? From such gospels as Amiri Baraka, Toni Cade Bambara, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs, we are shown that our own texts can and have become just as holy, when regarded as such. 'apophenia: anatomy of a prayer' is an intertextual somatic meditation which encourages connection with that which follows you and gently asks those things to take the lead. Through a series of close readings of related material (from aforementioned poets), we will make space for the grand feeling bubbling within us, bear witness, and tend to it as a way of offering reverence to that which is already with us. All of this in hopes that our own words will return to us in a time of need. The writing workshop does not ask about that which you would like to write, but that which would like to be written about by you. Explore with us the anatomy of prayer, incantation, “speaking over oneself,” and the power of this magic in Black people and their poetry."


— Victor Musoni and Ireon Roach

Colophon

Jupiter Magazine Issue 003: The Theater of Refusal

Published by: Jupiter Magazine

Publication Year: 2024

Editors in Chief: Camille Bacon & Daria Simone Harper

Editorial Assistant: Niara Hightower

Design Team: Sebastien Pierre & Lizette Ayala

Web Development: Lizette Ayala

Collaborators:

New York: Aimee Meredith Cox, BlackMass Publishing & Adanne Bookshop

Los Angeles: Taylor Renee Aldridge & Reparations Club

Detroit: Asmaa Walton (Black Art Library), Aleiya Lindsay-Olu (Periodicals), André Moore (Aa Publishing), KESSWA, Zoe Talley, SABYTE & Kem Kem

Chicago: Ireon Roach, Victor Musoni, Denny Mwaura, Arts + Public Life, Black Film Club Chi, Blanc Gallery & Parkway Pictures

Acknowledgments:

We extend the utmost gratitude to those who have vivified the expansive spirit of Jupiter’s third orbit…