Andrea Bowers

Light and Gravity

28.09.2019 - 23.02.2020
Andrea Bowers, Trust Women, 2018 © the artist. Courtesy of Capitain Petzel. Photo: Jens Ziehe. Daskal Collection
Andrea Bowers, Pleasure & Liberation Create More Room for Joy, 2019, Texts Sampled from Adrienne Maree Brown (Original Illustration by Silvia Pankhurst for Women’s Social and Political Union, c. 1911), Courtesy: the artist, Kaufmann Repetto, Milano / New York, Photo: Andrea Rossetti
Andrea Bowers, Radical Feminist Pirate Ship Tree Sitting Platform, 2013, © the artist. Courtesy Collection Gaby & Wilhelm Schürmann, Herzogenrath / Berlin, Foto: Tobias Hübel

For the American artist Andrea Bowers (born in 1965, lives in Los Angeles), political involvement and artistic work cannot be separated. For more than two decades, she has stood for an artistic position which combines a well-thought-through aesthetic practice with acute political observation from a feminist perspective. Her creative output is characterised by a masterly balance between activist resistance and its transfer into artistic language. Her involvement with various forms of non-violent protest or civil disobedience is motivated by an historical awareness and an archival curiosity with regard to the history of political activism and its visual language.

In 1971/72 Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro founded the feminist art collective Womanhouse and the Feminist Art Program at the famous California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where Bowers would study twenty years later. The combative spirit and fearlessness of its women activists such as Suzanne Lacy or Mary Kelly deeply inspired her and has served as an impetus for her artistic production right down to today.

The point of departure for Bowers’ works often consists of intensive and meticulous investigations of social and political conditions which are archivally registered and subsequently translated into elaborate, space-encompassing drawings done in graphite and felt pen, installations and films, as well as book- and word-objects. For example, she denounces the immigration policies of the US government or its lack of effective gun-control laws, condemns the destruction of forests, or focuses on the AIDS epidemic, the right to abortion, the #metoo movement, non-violent acts of civil disobedience or climate change.

In 2005, for example, she becomes aware of the so-called Army of Three, three American women who, in the 1960s and early 1970s, advocated (health-)rights for women, including access to legal abortions and birth control. Bowers transforms her intensive research and interviews with the participants into a large wall installation, an artist’s book and a film, all of which focus in various ways on the letters addressed to the Army of Three by desperate women, men, doctors or family members. Arising since 2013, on the other hand, have been drawings in felt-tip pen which blow up historical illustrations dating from the beginning of the twentieth century — for example, by the Arts and Crafts figure Walter Crane — into a large format, transfer them onto rudimentary cardboard collages, and insert current political slogans into their original banners. In 2018, Bowers’ preoccupation with the #metoo movement leads, among other things, to a colourfully blinking light-object with the words ‘Trust Women’. These several examples from her oeuvre are typical of Bowers’ artistic approach inasmuch as she gives a face to a single case previously lost amid the masses, brings to light an overlooked individual or a theme forgotten in the daily newsfeed.

The exhibition Light and Gravity at the Weserburg Museum for Modern Art is the very first survey of Bowers’ work and consists of some 35 large-format murals and drawings in felt-tip pen, along with films and word objects, installations and intimate works in graphite from the last 15 years. Additionally on display will be two works created especially for Bremen, one of which explicitly refers to the local resistance movement against the planned cutting-down of 136 plane trees.

“Light and Gravity” is a quotation from the French philosopher Simone Weil, whose connection between theory and practice, thought and action constitutes an important foundation for the artistic approach of Andrea Bowers.* Light and Gravity at the Weserburg is the first presentation of the internationally renowned artist in northern Germany.

The exhibition is being curated by Janneke de Vries, director of the Weserburg Museum for Modern Art. It is being realised in collaboration with the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach. Afterwards a joint catalogue will be published.

*„Two forces rule the universe: light and gravity.“, in: Gravity and Grace, p. 1, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2003.



Friday, September 27th, at 7 pm

  • Greeting: Carmen Emigholz, Staatsrätin für Kultur der Freien Hansestadt Bremen
  • Introduction: Janneke de Vries, Director

Exhibition on floors 3 and 5

With friendly support of
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Brief Biography

After Andrea Bowers (*1965 in Ohio) completed her studies at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, in 1992, her oeuvre was featured in solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum Los Angeles (2017), Foundation Louis Vuitton Paris (2014), National Museum in Athens (2011), ZKM Karlsruhe (2008), Power Plant Toronto, Secession in Vienna (both 2007) et al. Furthermore, she participated in group exhibitions at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt/Main, San Francisco Museum of Art (both 2018), Whitney Museum of Art in NY (2017), Aspen Art Museum, Jewish Museum in NY (both 2016), Ludwig Forum in Aachen, Albertina in Vienna, S.M.A.K. in Ghent (all 2015) or PS1 NY (2011) as well as in the documenta 14, Milan Triennale (both 2017), Montreal Biennale, Gwangju Biennale (both 2014) and Liverpool Biennale (2012). Andrea Bowers lives in Los Angeles.

Guided Tours

50,- Euro plus admission fee, groups up to 10 persons
80,- Euro plus admission fee, groups up to 25 persons

For further informations and registrations please contact 0421-59839-0,

Accompanying Program

Creative writing in the exhibition Andrea Bowers. Light and Gravity
Saturday, 12 October, 11 am – 5 pm: Workshop (in German language)
Sunday, 3 November, 4 pm: Public Reading in the exhibition (in German language)
Registration via: 0172 6617116 or
Costs: 35,- €

Wednesday, 23 October, 6 pm, 3,- Euro plus admission fee, duration: 50 min.
Guided tour with Ingo Clauß, curator (in German language)

Wednesday, 23 October, 7 pm, 5,- Euro
Collector’s talk with Wilhelm Schürmann (in German language)

Tuesday, 29 October, 6 pm, 3,- Euro plus admission fee
Guided tour with Janneke de Vries, director (in German language)

Tuesday, 29 October, 7 pm, 5,- Euro
Zeitgenoss*innen. Discussion on the relationship between art and politics (in German language)
Julia Bulk (Wilhelm Wagenfeld Stiftung), Eva Fischer-Hausdorf (Kunsthalle Bremen), Arie Hartog (Gerhard-Marcks-Haus), Nadja Quante (Künstlerhaus Bremen) and Janneke de Vries (Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst)

Sunday, 3 November, 4 pm, 3,- plus admission fee, duration: approx. 45 min.
Prose, poetry, reflections, surprising and bizarre stories – a reading in the exhibition Andrea Bowers with literary texts about the artworks with Anke Fischer and participants* of the workshop Creative Writing. (in German language)

Wednesday, 11 December, 8 pm, 9,- Euro/reduced 5,50 Euro
film:art 86: The Personal is Political
Short film programme curated and introduced by Christine Rüffert
Location: CITY 46

Monday, 13 January, 8.30 pm
Tuesday, 14 January, 6 pm
Yours in Sisterhood (USA 2018 R: Irene Lusztig, 101 min.)
Location: CITY 46

Wednesday, 22 January, 6 pm, 3,- Euro plus admission fee, duration: 50 min.
Guided tour with Janneke de Vries, director (in German language)

Wednesday, 22 January, 7 pm, 5,- Euro (in German language)
Trust Women. Andrea Bowers in the Context of Feminist Art
Lecture by Astrid Mania, freelance art critic and professor for art criticism and art history of the modern age at the HFBK Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg

Thursday, 6 February, 6 pm, 3, – Euro plus admission fee
Guided tour with Ingo Clauß, curator (in German language)

Thursday, 6 February, 7 pm, 5,- Euro
more than shelters. Social design in response to humanitarian crises. Lecture by Daniel Kerber, founder of more than shelters, Hamburg (in German language)