If one thing is for certain about modern day artists, it’s that they are constantly finding new media and approaches to expressing their artistic views. One I came across in my most recent trek around Chelsea that I haven’t seen much of before, is the idea making art through archiving.
Andrea Bowers, inspired by a publication from the 1970’s entitled “The New Woman’s Survival Guide,” has created a powerful installation analyzing the progression of women’s empowerment over the ages. The original publication’s intent was to catalogue and document an encyclopedic collection of women’s organizations and services across the nation. Most of her exhibit includes a very engulfing collection of drawings, photography, and graphic materials from various women’s causes and groups. These images surround the viewer in a very intense way. It is very much that sense of visual overload I both love and am intimidated by. There were so many individual pieces of art to appreciate, it set my level of ADHD into overload. I liked it a lot, but would need a few separate visits to enjoy the full extent of it.
And as powerful and interesting as these wall papered surfaces were, the exhibit found its strength on the most plain wall. Bowers recreated a series of letters written to Planned Parenthood by women in the Los Angeles area, expressing how much they appreciate what the organization has done for them. The heart felt stories really get to the point of why we need to support these kinds of efforts and organizations. And it is something the artist really believes in, a large percentage of the profits from sales of the exhibit will be going directly to Planned Parenthood.