Andrea Bowers
Courtroom Drawings (Steubenville Rape Case, Text Messages Entered As Evidence, 2013), 2014
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
22.10.14 - 04.01.14

Andrea Bowers has long been concerned with subjects such as the environment and AIDS, as well as workers’, migrants’ and women’s rights. Exhibited as key components of her 2014 project #sweetjane, the drawings selected for the Biennale reference the Steubenville Rape Case of 2013 and, more specifically, the callous and bragging text messages and posts exchanged between its protagonists.

The large multipartite drawing installation reveals disturbing and dehumanizing tendencies in social media that enable rape culture and escalate the impact of violation. The text messages are painstakingly rendered by Bowers and float on blue/black fields suggestive of the disembodiment and artifice of the digital realm. A drawing of the members of the hactivist group Anonymous accompanies this installation. Wearing masks to protect themselves, they demonstrate to end sexual violence on behalf of “Jane Doe,” the victim in this case. In this way, Bowers examines the conflicted ethics of identification and anonymity at play in the case. While anonymity offers protection to the victim, it reduces her ability to be identified and thereby empathized with. In contrast, the violators secure a level of sympathy by virtue of their sporting achievements. By tracing historical struggles into the present through their contemporary replays, Bowers questions the progress made while also revealing opposing forces currently working both for and against the goal of social justice.

Courtroom Drawings (Steubenville Rape Case, Text Messages Entered As Evidence, 2013), 2014, feutre sur papier, 56 parties : 101.6 x 83.82 cm chacune; dimensions de l’installation variables (avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste et de Susan Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects ; photo: Robert Wedemeyer) 
#justiceforjanedoe, Anonymous Women Protestors, Steubenville Rape Case, March 13 - 17, 2013, 2014
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
22.10.14 - 04.01.14
#justiceforjanedoe, Anonymous Women Protestors, Steubenville Rape Case, March 13 - 17, 2013, 2014, graphite sur papier, papier : 76.2 cm x 57.15 cm; encâdré: 82.55 cm x 63.5 cm (collection du Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA; avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste, de Susan Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects et du Pomona College Museum of Art ; photo: Robert Wedemeyer) 

Born in 1965 in Wilmington, OH, Andrea Bowers lives and works in Los Angeles. Bowers’ work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Wiener Secession, Vienna; The Power Plant, Toronto; Pitzer College Art Galleries and Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA; Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany; and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece. She recently collaborated with Suzanne Lacy on a 10-day performance and installation at the Drawing Center, New York.

Bowers’ work was selected for the SITE.lines Biennial 2014 at SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; 2014 Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea; and 2004 Whitney Biennial, New York. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Stedeljik Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium; Museum of Modern Art, New York; New Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia. She is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.