Pomona College Museum of Art and Pitzer College Art Galleries Present "Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane"
Installation view of #sweetjane, 2014 Single Channel HD video (color with sound) with mural installation and colored lightbulbs (Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane, at The Pomona College Museum of Art). Courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Pomona College Museum of Art
Installation view and detail of Courtroom Drawings (Steubenville Rape Case, Text Messages Entered As Evidence, 2013), Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane, at Pitzer College Art Galleries. Courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College Art Galleries.
“Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane” will be on view January 21 through April 13, 2014, at the Pomona College Museum of Art and January 21 through March 28, 2014, at the Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College Art Galleries in Claremont. The exhibition “#sweetjane” includes new work by Los Angeles-based artist Andrea Bowers that examines the notorious Steubenville, Ohio, high school rape case. The exhibition unfolds over two campuses and is the second collaborative project between the Pomona College Museum of Art and the Pitzer College Art Galleries.
A public reception for “Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane” will take place on Saturday, January 25 from 5-6 p.m. at the Nichols Gallery at Pitzer College and from 6-7 p.m. at the Pomona College Museum of Art. A lecture by Maria Elena Buszek, professor of art history at the University of Colorado, Denver and Bowers catalogue essayist, will take place on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 4:15 p.m. at the George C.S. Benson Auditorium, Pitzer College. Buszek will present a lecture on Bowers’s work and is this year’s Murray Pepper and Vicky Reynolds Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist/Scholar Lecture recipient at Pitzer College. On Thursday, April 3, 2014, from 5-7 p.m. at the Pomona College Museum of Art there will be a celebration of the exhibition catalogue and a closing reception. The artist will be present for both and will be available for a book signing.
“#sweetjane” examines the Steubenville, Ohio, high school rape case and the subsequent trial. A small, close-knit community on the Ohio River bordering West Virginia, Steubenville is a Rust Belt city reflecting the last remnants of industrialization. It is also home to “Big Red,” one of the most famous high school football teams in the country. On the night of August 11, 2012, several star football players raped a 16-year-old girl from the neighboring town of Weirton, West Virginia. The incident was played out on various social media sites, which featured the football players’ celebratory posts, pictures, and tweets and, as a result, received national attention. (Ultimately, however, a judge and jury convicted two young men for the crime; the other three who videotaped/witnessed the crime were granted immunity for their testimony and were neither charged with nor convicted of rape. The nature of their involvement remains disputed.)
In addition to a new series of drawings, the exhibition “#sweetjane” comprises a video based on Bowers’s three trips to Steubenville that documents the protest surrounding the trial and activities of “hactivist” group Anonymous. This documentation is interspersed with video and photographs from the artist’s teen years. Bowers grew up in a small, football town similar to Steubenville in Ohio. In this work, Bowers returns to her core subject matter of women’s rights and draws attention to the under-examined “rape culture” that is becoming a tradition in this country. Her return to Ohio to document the Steubenville case is a form of personal mapping of 30 years of violence against women.
The project explores the notion of anonymity—which became a form of protection for the victim (Jane Doe), Anonymous and the townspeople—as well as the visibility of the teen rapists, with whom the media ultimately sympathized. Ultimately, this project is about the naming of injustice. For many, Jane Doe offered the opportunity to finally speak about their own experiences of violence against women and perhaps help change the imbalance of patriarchal power.
A catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes new essays by art historians Maria Elena Buszek and Peter Kalb, an interview with Bowers by Ciara Ennis, and an introduction by Rebecca McGrew. “Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane” represents the second collaboration between the Pomona College Museum of Art and the Pitzer College Art Galleries and is curated by Rebecca McGrew, senior curator at Pomona, and Ciara Ennis, director/curator at Pitzer. The exhibition of Andrea Bowers’s work is the 48th in the Pomona College Museum of Art’s Project Series and the 24th exhibition at Pitzer College Art Galleries.
About Pomona College Museum of Art
The Project Series at Pomona College, organized by Rebecca McGrew, presents Southern California artists in focused exhibitions. The purpose of the series is to bring to Pomona College art that is experimental and introduces new forms, techniques or concepts. During each exhibition, participating artists spend time on campus working with faculty and students in relevant disciplines. A catalogue accompanies each exhibition. The Project Series is supported in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance.
The Pomona College Museum of Art houses a substantial permanent collection as well as serving as a gallery for the display of temporary exhibitions. Important holdings include the Kress Collection of 15th- and 16th-century Italian panel paintings; more than 5,000 examples of Pre-Columbian to 20th-century American Indian art and artifacts; and a large collection of American and European prints, drawings, and photographs, including works by Francisco de Goya, José Clemente Orozco and Rico Lebrun.
The Pomona College Museum of Art is located at 330 N. College Avenue, Claremont. The Museum is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. and Thursday, from noon to 11 p.m. For more information, call (909) 621-8283 or visit the museum’s Website: www.pomona.edu/museum.
Pitzer College Art Galleries
Pitzer College Art Galleries provides diverse audiences with visually arresting and memorable exhibitions that promote the value and understanding of contemporary art within a local, national and international context.
Pitzer College Art Galleries is located at 1050 N. Mills Avenue, Claremont. The galleries is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Friday, from noon to 5 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, please call (909) 607-8797 or visit the galleries’s website: www.pitzer.edu/galleries.