Art Basel removes part of Andrea Bowers' 'Open Secret' installation

The 49th edition of the Swiss art fair runs through June 16. — Image courtesy of Art Basel via AFP
The 49th edition of the Swiss art fair runs through June 16. — Image courtesy of Art Basel via AFP

BASEL, June 14 — Part of Bowers' installation was removed from the Swiss art fair, which opened to the public yesterday, following complaints from a victim whose photos of bruised face and body were included without her permission.

“Open Secret,” which is included in the fair's Unlimited sector, documents around 200 sexual misconduct allegations that came to light as part of the #MeToo movement.

The large-scale installation by the LA-based American artist featured an image of a tweet from October 2017, in which writer Helen Donahue showed injuries allegedly perpetrated by another writer.

On June 11, Donahue took to Twitter to object that Bowers had not sought her permission to use her photos in the installation. She also claimed that she only found out about her inclusion in “Open Secret” when she saw the work on Instagram.

In subsequent tweets, Donahue responded to an Instagram comment from New York's Andrew Kreps Gallery, which represents Bowers, that stated “the images in the work solely depict the accused, not the survivors. Each individual print is based on publicly reported claims and the public response (printed in the font of the original source) of the accused.”

Artist Andrea Bowers later issued an apology, noting that she should have asked for Donahue's 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,” she said.

On June 12, Art Basel removed the panel on which Donahue was featured from the installation, replacing it with information about sexual misconduct allegations against the magician and performer David Blaine.

The four galleries representing Bowers — including Andrew Kreps, Kaufmann Repetto, Vielmetter Los Angeles and Capitain Petzel — also issued an apology to Donahue, stating that they “stand by Andrea Bowers and her work and support the conversation that has only just begun.” — AFP-Relaxnews

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