andreabowers 43ad0

An Art Basel Piece Included Graphic Photos of Sexual Assault Survivors (Without Their Consent)

by Emma Davey

Andrea Bowers’ recent Art Basel exhibition, Open Secrets, is a massive installation designed in response to the #MeToo movement. In an Instagram statement, Andrew Kreps (the gallery who represents Bowers) provided this statement about the piece: “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.” Open Secrets will be featured at Art Basel in Switzerland.

Ironically, though, Bowers did not obtain consent from the survivors to use the images in her piece. On Twitter, writer Helen Donahue expressed her disgust at her story being told and her likeness being shown without any prior approval on her behalf. According to The Cut, “Donahue had posted the images on her own Twitter in October of 2017, saying that she’d suffered the injuries at the hands of an unidentified man in media whom she and three women later identified to Jezebel as Michael Hafford, a former freelance columnist at Vice’s now-defunct Broadly vertical.”


Open Secrets is valued at $300,000. Bowers should not profit from people’s sexual trauma without obtaining their explicit consent to use their images in her art, especially when she included a tweet with the person’s Twitter handle included: she knew exactly where she could have reached out.

Bowers has apologized in a statement to The Cut, saying: “I should have asked for her consent…I have reached out privately and am very much looking forward to listening.”

Photo credit: Andrew Kreps gallery (Instagram)

More from BUST

Put Your Money Where Your Art Is: Women And People Of Color Take On Big Pharma And Racism

What Makes Art Feminist? Janet Mock And The Brooklyn Museum Weigh In

Women’s Careers Will Stall Because Men Are Afraid Of #MeToo


You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.