chapter
3 Pages

Andrea Bowers

Of the famous Black Panthers Party credo, “Do something, even if you only spit,” Andrea Bowers

says, “It was a proletariat call to action. I’m an artist so I use my art as spit.”1 Approaching

art’s conflicted relationship to activism as a problem that needs solving, Bowers often combines

interviews, videos, drawings, and archival materials to make projects that respond to feminist and

political ideas-particularly the various forms of civil disobedience and activism in which women

have participated or played a prominent role. She has adopted a conceptual practice influenced

by Michael Asher, Charles Gaines, Hans Haacke, Suzanne Lacy, Adrian Piper, and Martha

Rosler, artists whose steadfast commitment to their political beliefs has significantly impacted

Bowers and helped shape her understanding that the personal is political, and thus all art is

inherently political.2 Her methodology begins with a close examination of a community’s response

to an event or issue that often divides people (abortion, the US invasion of Iraq, AIDS, and

immigration). Bowers then uses aesthetics as an entry point for viewers to “sit with”3 issues to

which they may have strong reactions, and through her work she hopes to find ways of changing

belief systems that unfairly malign marginalized populations.