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Talk: Art + Activism with Andrea Bowers, John Quigley, and Marcos Ramirez ERRE

About the Event

Contemporary artists often inspire us to think differently about the world around us, posing questions and proposing alternatives to the status quo. Activists likewise use art and design to visualize their ideas and calls to action, and to expand their reach. In the first of two engaging conversations exploring the intersections of art and activism, inspired by the exhibition Andrea Bowers currently on view at the MCA, Bowers joins artists and activists John Quigley and Marcos Ramirez ERRE to discuss the bounds and overlaps between their creative practices and social justice missions.

The exhibition Andrea Bowers showcases more than twenty years of the artist's work inspired by, and in collaboration with, communities of activists. Long-standing friends and compatriots of Bowers, Quigley and Ramirez ERRE will begin the conversation by sharing their own artistic work before entering a frank conversation with Bowers about their common causes, their collaborative work, and the bounds and overlaps of their lives as artists and activists.

Art + Activism talks for the exhibition Andrea Bowers are organized by Curator January Parkos Arnall and Assistant Curator J. Gibran Villalobos, with Otez Gary, Curatorial Assistant.

About the Speakers

Andrea Bowers

For over thirty years, multidisciplinary visual artist Andrea Bowers (American, b. 1965) has made art that activates. Bowers works in a variety of mediums, from video to colored pencil to installation art, and explores pressing national and international issues. Her work combines an artistic practice with activism and advocacy, speaking to deeply entrenched social and political inequities as well as the generations of activists working to create a fairer and more just world.

Born in Wilmington, Ohio, Bowers received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1992 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She built an international reputation as a chronicler of contemporary history, documenting activism as it unfolds and collecting research on the frontlines of protest through an empathetic and labor-intensive practice. Her subject matter contends with issues like immigration rights, workers’ rights, climate justice, women’s rights, and more, illustrating the shared pursuit of justice that connects these issues.

The exhibition Andrea Bowers is the first museum retrospective surveying over two decades of Bowers's practice. Highlights of the exhibition include Memorial to Arcadia Woodlands Clear-Cut(2013) andMy Name Means Future (2020). These two works, both focused on issues related to environmental justice, highlight the range of mediums employed by the artist. The former is a large-scale sculpture based on her involvement with tree-sitting activists protesting the destruction of old-growth trees in California; the latter is a video that features Tokata Iron Eyes, a young Indigenous rights activist whose ancestral lands have been threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

John Quigley

John Quigley is an Artist, Activist, and award-winning Producer.

As founder of Spectral Q he has created a unique mix of human installation and aerial photography that brings together communities to form large-scale images for the common good.

He has created more than 200 installations involving over 250,000 people on 7 continents.

These include the 100% Renewable Eiffel Tower Peace Symbol after the Paris terror attacks that went viral on social media and landed on front pages around the globe, Da Vinci’s Melting Vitruvian Man near the North Pole featured in the Phaidon book ‘Wild Art’, Heartland NOKXL the world’s largest crop art on the Keystone pipeline route, the Love All Picasso Peace Dove in Jericho that was chosen as one of the 49 most iconic images in the history of the United Nations, and the Kids Ocean Day image in the Smithsonian’s permanent ocean collection. He has created many ‘firsts’ in the medium including Arctic Wisdom, an image with Inuit on the sea ice off Baffin Island in 2005, the world’s first large scale climate art project.

His body of work has been profiled in the London Sunday Times Magazine and has appeared in hundreds of media outlets around the world.

He has produced numerous campaigns, live art events, concerts, videos, livestreams, and environmental websites. In response to the BP oil spill in 2010 he co-founded Counterspill.org, which won multiple Webby awards in 2012 (for Activism, Environment and Peoples Choice for Activism). In 2020 he served as Executive Producer for the highly acclaimed ‘Artists United for Amazonia’ Livestream with more than 70 top performing artists and entertainment legends.

He currently serves on the board of the Environmental Media Association (EMA) and the Whaleman Foundation and is the Founding Director of Artists for Amazonia.

Marcos Ramirez ERRE

Marcos Ramirez ERRE, 1961. Born in Tijuana, Baja California Mexico.

Law Degree in the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California.

In 1983 immigrated to the United States where he worked for 17 years in the construction industry.

In 1989 (while still working in the construction sector) became active in the field of visual arts, since then he has participated in residencies, lectures and different individual and collective exhibitions in countries like Mexico, USA, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Russia, China, France, Spain, Portugal, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Chile, Argentina, y Brazil, and. And in mayor exhibitions like InSite94, InSite97, the VI and VII Havana Biennials, the Whitney Biennial 2000, the second Moscow Biennial, the San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial, the 2007, the Sao Paulo /Valencia Biennial, the California Biennial 08, the Zero One Biennial, The Site Santa Fe, SITElines Biennial 2014, and ECO Contemporary Mexican Art, in the Centro Reina Sofia Museum in Spain, among others.

From 2003 to 2010 founded and directed Estación Tijuana, an alternative art space with focus in Art, Architecture, Urbanism and Pop Culture

In 2007 received a United States Artist fellowship, and since 2009 is a fellow member of Mexico’s National System of Art Creators.