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The Theater of Refusal

The Theater of Refusal

Black Art and Mainstream Criticism (Pre-Order, Oct 5 2024)

Rhea Anastas
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Updated documentation of The Theater of Refusal on the exhibition's 30th anniversary.

In 1993, at the University of California, Irvine, Charles Gaines and Catherine Lord mounted a category-breaking exhibition of Black artists from different generations, working across Fluxus, Conceptualism, assemblage, photography and installation. Challenging the racializing of Black artists' work, the exhibition confronted the discourse around race difference in the United States by including excerpts of writing by art critics who had discussed the featured artists. On the 30th anniversary of this event, this publication reprints the eponymous 1993 volume documenting the show, which contained essays by Gaines, Lord and Berger, and the transcript of a roundtable of artists and writers. Reproducing images of the exhibition in color for the first time, this new edition augments the original publication with an essay by poet and scholar Fred Moten; recent conversations between Lord and Gaines; an interview with Gaines by Moten; and a new roundtable discussion moderated and edited by curator Jamillah James and Thomas (T.) Jean Lax.


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