#MeToo Art Installation in New York Involves Survivors’ Images Without Consent, Social Media Slams Artist Andrea Bowers
#MeToo Art Installation in New York (Photo Credits: andrewkrepsgallery/ Instagram)

The #MeToo movement came in as a major revolution globally, giving all the sexual violence victims a platform, to come out and speak to what they had suffered and drag the perpetrators to the law. As significant that it is, a popular American artist, Andrea Bowers, decided to install an art piece documenting 200 cases of men who were exposed by the Me Too movement. But it has come under major criticism after one of the survivors, Helen Donahue, saw her images, displayed under a section in the exhibit, without her consent. She immediately tweeted her trauma and social media users across stood in support of her, slamming the artist’s shock and betrayed piece of art, costing $300,000. Post #MeToo Movement, Number of Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims Rise in US. 

The installation, called Open Secrets, outlined the allegations of all men who had been proven as abusers in the #MeToo movement. Bowers’ art piece includes all the abusers, with their names and job titles, as well as information on what they were accused of and their responses. It even includes the film producer Harvey Weinstein. While it seems like the art would be an important and moving exhibition, it rather has come out like a ripple effect of shock and betrayal. Donahue, a writer who publicly accused Michael Hafford, a former writer and editor for sites like Vice and Playboy, was shocked to discover her image with bruises in the art piece. Ethiopian Woman Appears For Exam 30 Minutes After Delivering a Baby, Photo of 'Wonder Woman' Goes Viral. 

Bowers’ Art Piece


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We're excited to present Andrea Bower's work "Open Secrets 1 & 2" @artbasel #ArtUnlimited in collaboration with @capitainpetzel @kaufmannrepetto, @vielmetter. On view from June 10 - June 16. Open Secret documents the important cultural shifts represented by the #MeToo and Time’s Up international movements against sexual harassment and assault, which spread virally following public revelations of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein in 2017. The work contains approximately 200 photographic prints, each of which lists the name and occupation of an accused person, as well as their response to the allegations, printed in the typeface in which they were originally published. This project serves as both a physical manifestation of patriarchy and a monument to the courage of survivors who are speaking out against sexual harassment and assault, thereby making public what many repeatedly said were "open secrets." The work was researched, designed, written and produced in collaboration with: Kate Alexandrite, Angel Alvarado, Ryan Beal, Carey Coleman, David Burch, Miriam Katz, Zut Lorz, Julie Sadowski, Ian Trout, Ingrid von Sydow #AndreaBowers

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Reportedly the images, were a screengrab from the time, when she says he assaulted her. Donahue, did not give consent for them to use her pictures.

Here's Donahue's Tweet

It was further reported that it was not only Donahue, but all the other women, who were featured at the installation, was betrayed by Bowers. Social media users slammed the artist and demanded that all the survivors should be compensated for having their trauma put on display without their consent.

Following major backlash online, the Daily Dot reported that Bowers and people from Art Basel issued an apology and also removed Donahue’s images. It quoted Bowers saying, “I, Andrea Bowers would like to apologize to the survivor whose image was included in my piece. I should have asked for her consent. She has asked that the panel including her photo be removed and I have honored the request. I have reached out privately and am very much looking forward to listening.”

The worker was presented by Kaufmann Repetto, in collaboration with Capitain Petzel, Andrew Kreps Gallery and Vielmetter Los Angeles, who issued a joint statement, saying, they “would also like to issue an apology to the survivor pictured in the piece. The galleries stand by Andrea Bowers and her work and support the conversation that has only just begun.” It has so far been reported that only Donahue’s images were removed.