Berlin: “Open Secret” by Andrea Bowers at Capitain Petzel through August 11, 2018

July 25th, 2018

Installation View. All images via Anna Corrigan for Art Observed.

On view through August 11, 2018, Capitain Petzel in Berlin presents Open Secret, an exhibition by Andrea Bowers. In this show, Bowers focuses on the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, an international effort to speak out against and prosecute sexual harassment and assault, which spread virally in October 2017 following the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. This is the first exhibition in an ongoing project that reflects on the apologies and non-apologies of 100 accused sexual offenders at a time.

The main work in the show consists of 100 photographic prints covering both sides of a 19 by 4-meter wall. Each print lists the name and occupation of a person accused of sexual misconduct, as well as their apology (or lack thereof) and an up-to-date summary of the case. Over 5 months ago, Bowers started compiling a database of those accused in the context of the #MeToo movement. This list has now grown to include 355 names at present. The information contained in the prints includes relevant photographs, a description of the case brought against the individual, as well as his or her response to the allegations, presented in the font and format of the platform on which the response was originally posted (Twitter, Facebook, magazines, journals, etc.). The project seeks to present a physical manifestation of the patriarchy and a monument to the courage of those speaking out against sexual harassment, making public what many repeatedly referred to as “open secrets.”


In addition to the hanging prints, this exhibition includes a series of works from Bowers’ earlier series of colorful cardboard collages, which illustrate women in powerful positions that resemble historical political graphics. A large LED sign hangs on one side of the gallery and flashes the message “TRUST WOMEN” across the space and through a large front window onto the street outside. The film Disrupting and Resisting, J20 & J21 is projected in the basement of the gallery. This hour and a half documentary video honors the work of two activist groups who came together for a series of mass protests to shut down the presidential inauguration in January, 2017 and for the Women’s March on Washington, the largest single-day protest in the history of the U.S., aimed at Donald Trump and the sexist positions and statements he issues.


In this exhibition and ongoing project, Bowers seeks to memorialize and preserve the activist groups that stem from this extremely polemical moment in U.S. history. In so doing, she unites the voices and actions that are actively resisting white supremacy, patriarchy and the suppression of freedom.

-A. Corrigan


Related Links

Exhibition Page [Capitain Petzel]