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Andrea Bowers
The New Woman’s Survival Guide
October 29 – December 17, 2011

The Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Andrea Bowers’ second exhibition at the gallery entitled, The New Woman’s Survival Guide.  Consisting of drawings layered over wallpaper made up of handbills and protest signs collected by the artist, the show contrasts previous tropes of feminism with current ones.

The show’s title and subject matter uses this 1973 feminist zine as its nexus and impetus to consider the evolution of women’s issues and feminist activism today.  The original publication’s intent was to catalogue and document activities aimed explicitly at developing an alternative woman’s culture.  The original DIY book served as an encyclopedic collection of women’s organizations and services that existed throughout the United States during the second wave of feminism in the early seventies.  The artist’s discovery of the New Woman’s Survival Guide led Bowers through a process of questioning and investigating the progression and possibility of an alternative woman’s culture almost 40 years after the this tome was published.   

The exhibition continues her use of archival strategies in art making, which includes drawing, photography and graphic materials.  Bower’s belief in the importance of the partnership between art and politics is at the forefront of this exhibition and she celebrates a 40-year history of feminist political graphics highlighting specific images as homage or political focal points creating moments of humor, celebration, memorialization and rage. Twenty drawings hang on a huge wall installation, made of contemporary political placards and graphics combined with reproductions of the 1973 zine.  All the contemporary political graphics were collected by the artist through donations to feminist organizations like Planned Parenthood, NOW, NARAL, Radical Women, 9to5, Codepink, Another Mother For Peace, etc. 

The drawings comprise three bodies of work: text drawings, figurative drawings, and black and white feminist graphic drawings.  The text drawings, Make My Story Count are hand-drawn copies of letters written recently to Planned Parenthood by women in the Los Angeles area expressing their appreciation for the organization’s invaluable healthcare services.  The figurative drawings use as their source photos taken by the artist at 2011 May Day March in Los Angeles.  All of the drawings are of women and reflect the complexities of gender, race and global migration that must be confronted in today’s woman’s movement.  The graphite black and white drawings appropriate graphics from the 1970’s but become playful and contemplative 40 years later. 

By juxtaposing the historical and contemporary tropes of activism the artist foregrounds not only the trajectory and evolution of the feminist dialogue, but also it’s difficulties maintaining pertinence and purity in an ever-growing complex political environment.

A percentage of sales from the exhibition will be donated to Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

Andrea Bowers received her MFA at the California Institute of the Arts in 1992. Solo exhibitions include: Secession, Vienna, Austria; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; and the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Sammlung Goetz, Seedamm Kulturzentrum, Switzerland; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst; Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL.