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Artist-activist Andrea Bowers arrested in tree-sitting protest in Arcadia

January 13, 2011 |  9:50 am

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Andrea Bowers is known for making textured artwork about prickly issues, like immigration fatalities, abortion rights and the demographics of AIDS. Now she has crossed over from artist to activist.

She was one of four people arrested late Wednesday night for trespassing and resisting or obstructing a police officer. The four had climbed trees in Arcadia to protest the bulldozing of a grove of oaks and sycamores by the L.A. County Department of Public Works.

Culver City gallerist Susanne Vielmetter previously explained that Bowers was "documenting the protest and also participating in it -- fulfilling a promise to John Quigley, who organized the action." Quigley, described by Louis Sahagun of the Los Angeles Times as a "veteran of arboreal acts of civil disobedience," appeared in a 2009 video by Bowers, which shows the artist taking lessons on how to climb a tree and make it more or less habitable.

"All of her work in the last few years has been about political activists -- she's been interested in a number of them and befriended a number of them, and one was John Quigley," Vielmetter says. The 2009 video was a turning point for the artist in another respect, Vielmetter says: It's the first time Bowers appeared in one of her own videos.

-- Jori Finkel
twitter.com/jorifinkel

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Artist Andrea Bowers turns activist

Andrea Bowers at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Trees felled around protesters in Arcadia

Image: Andrea Bowers in a still from her 2009 artwork "Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Training -- Tree Sitting Forest Defense," a single-channel video with color and sound. Credit: Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter / Los Angeles Projects

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