Just days after the Associated Press announced, “Obama Targets College Sexual Assault Epidemic,” the attention of the Los Angeles art world shifted to the sleepy college town of Pomona, for the opening of “#sweetjane,” an exhibition of new work by Andrea Bowers. Co-hosted by Pitzer College Art Galleries and Pomona College Museum of Art, the exhibition explores the events, circumstances, and implications of an August 2012 teen rape case in Steubenville, Ohio. The celebratory sense of the opening night reception proved a sharp counterpoint to the heartbreaking but vital work.
It’s a story that’s captured national headlines: two high school football stars accused of raping a 16-year-old, who was too incapacitated to resist, at an August party, in Steubenville, Ohio. Since then, their friends discussed it — and at times posted photos from the ordeal on social media. It reached national attention courtesy of a December New York Times story that painted the picture of a town so obsessed with football it looked the other way. Meanwhile, the hacker group Anonymous has stoked the public fire by hacking the computers of several people involved with the case and releasing their personal information, as well as by leaking videos related to the case. Local independent journalist and Rustbelt Radio reporter Don Carpenter has been covering the case in Steubenville since the Times story broke. He recently spoke to City Paper.