Andrea Bowers

About the Exhibition

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.

This 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) and My 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.

Andrea Bowers is co-organized by Michael Darling, former James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the MCA, and Connie Butler, Chief Curator at The Hammer Museum. It is presented in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art on the museum’s fourth floor.


Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris: Caryn and King Harris, Katherine Harris, Toni and Ron Paul, Pam Szokol, Linda and Bill Friend, and Stephanie and John Harris; the Zell Family Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; R. H. Defares; Gael Neeson, Edlis Neeson Foundation; Cari and Michael Sacks; Karyn and Bill Silverstein; and Anonymous.

Major support is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein, Charlotte Feng Ford, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, and by Charlotte Cramer Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III of the Wagner Foundation.

Generous support is provided by Andrew Kreps Gallery, Diana Billes, Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Glenstone Foundation, Susan D. Goodman and Rodney Lubeznik, Ashlee Jacob, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Diane Kahan, Anne L. Kaplan, kaufmann repetto, Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund, Rennie Collection, Mary Kay Touhy, and Vielmetter Los Angeles.

This exhibition is supported by the Women Artists Initiative, a philanthropic commitment to further equity across gender lines and promote the work and ideas of women artists.

At the Hammer Museum, this exhibition is made possible by lead funding from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Logo with text 'Henry Luce Foundation'


Opening Talk: Andrea Bowers

Andrea Bowers at work

Andrea Bowers

Photo: Julie Sadowsky

Join a lively discussion celebrating the opening of Andrea Bowers’ mid-career survey at the MCA Chicago. Bowers is known for her intimate collaborations with environmental and social justice activists that inspire her artwork. Her research-based practice encourages viewers to visualize the impactful efforts and stories of these advocates for immigration, worker’s rights, environmental justice, and women’s rights. In this conversation, Bowers discusses her work as an activist and as an artist, how her work has developed through the teachings of other artists and activists, and the questions she asks as she builds work out of these encounters.