Andrea Bowers is a Los Angeles-based multimedia artist foregrounding struggles for gender, racial, environmental, labor, and immigration justice in her work. Before sitting down as a panelist for the Zócalo event “What Is the Value of Art?”—presented in partnership with NeueHouse, KCRW, and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art—we caught her in our green room to chat time travel, nature, and turn-of-the-century political movements.
Where’s one place you like to go in Los Angeles?
The TransLatin@ Coalition. I think that’s one of the best and most loving environments in all of Los Angeles. And I think Bamby Salcedo, the founder, should run for president. She’s one of my favorite people.
What's the most important piece of art you own and what makes it valuable to you?
I don’t think about ownership, or qualifying one’s important and one isn’t. I don’t place hierarchal structures on art.
How do you decompress?
I sort of don’t…
If you could time travel to any year—past or future—what would it be?
I’m really interested in the turn of the [20th] century right now. I’m interested in a lot of the writings, the union work—like the IWW [Industrial Workers of the World]—and a lot of the feminists from that era. That was a time when communism and socialism were completely accepted as political movements.
What is one food that is impossible for you to resist?
I’m vegan. I resist everything!
What is something you’re proud of?
I’m proud of my artwork—a lot of it. Some of the projects I’ve done with activists.
What is something you find beautiful about the world?
I think nature is really beautiful. I think ecofeminist poetry is beautiful. I think philosophical writings on queer ecology is really beautiful. I think the Redwood Forest Defense and tree sits in northern California are really beautiful. I think the High Desert is really beautiful. I’m really more and more obsessed with the beauty of nature these days. Also, I think that youth activists are really beautiful, in the work that they’re doing. Like Tokata Iron Eyes of Standing Rock. That’s where I find hope.