after controversy, andrea bowers removes images from #MeToo work at art basel 2019
 

after controversy, andrea bowers removes images from #MeToo work at art basel 2019

part of andrea bowers’ open secret (2018-2019) large-scale installation at art basel 2019 has been removed after becoming a source of controversy on social media. the artwork, which documents sexual misdeeds made against 200 men as part of the #MeToo movement, was part of the fair’s unlimited sector and was reportedly on sale for USD $300,000. the removed panel featured an image of a tweet by los angeles-based writer helen donahue, which included photos of bruises she said were inflicted by michael hafford, an ex-VICE magazine colleague.


image © designboom

 

 

andrea bowers’ open secret installation aimed to support the #MeToo movement. the eye-catching red walls presented text and photos that told the stories of men and women accused of sexual misconduct. but the intent backfired when writer helen donahue claimed her images were used without her consent. after the twitter post went viral, bowers decided to remove donahue’s testimony from her work.

 

 

 

‘I, andrea bowers, would like to apologize to the survivor whose image was included in my piece. I should have asked for her consent,’ wrote the artist in a statement provided to artnet news. ‘[donahue] has asked that the panel including her photo be removed and I have honored the request. I have reached out privately and am very much looking forward to listening.’

 

 

with an art world becoming everyday more political and with a journalistic mindset, what happened with this piece at art basel raises questions on the complexity of creating political art.


image © designboom

 

 

‘this is a whole new set of questions,’ said prof. griselda pollock, director of the center for cultural analysis, theory and history at the university of leeds in britain to the new york times. ‘artists have a right to quote from the world, and they have authorization to present it as their art. but if you use materials that come from one context of use, with its own inherent ethics and politics, into another one, then we find that there are people who are challenging it.’


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom

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