On Apology is curated by the graduating students in the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts.
The public apology has become a widely prevalent phenomenon. Politicians, corporate figureheads, and pop-culture figures, from Bill Clinton to Toyota’s chief executives, have openly expressed remorse for everything from minor private indiscretions to major corporate wrongdoings. The mass-media mechanisms for “saying sorry” are accordingly all-pervasive. The effectiveness of the broadcast apology can be complicated by public expectations for reconciliation or recompense, and the unlikelihood of these expectations being met. Despite the fact that overuse has arguably rendered the apology a bankrupt form of expression, it persists as a means of damage control, and, ironically perhaps, of enshrining a kind of idealism.
On Apology seeks to outline the multifaceted perspectives and exchanges of power that are central to the formulation of apologies. Under what circumstances are apologies warranted? Can one person apologize on behalf of another? Is the value of the apology contingent upon written or spoken language, or do symbolic, performative gestures speak louder than words? On Apology examines why and how apologies are formed and their potential, if any, to accomplish real change.
The title of this exhibition, On Apology, references Jacques Derrida’s 2001 essay “On Forgiveness,” in which he discusses the act of forgiving, and the possibility of genuine forgiveness, versus the complexities of amnesty and restitution. This exhibition seeks to outline the multifaceted perspectives and exchanges of power that are central to the formulation of apologies via artworks that navigate sincere regret, fraught apologies, and even the absence of contrition.
A publication in the form of a newspaper will accompany the exhibition. It will include images of works in the show; new commissions by Adam Chodzko and Kristina Lee Podesva; editorials by Gabrielle Moser, Maria Fusco, Jessica O’Farrell, Kevin Killian, and Tirdad Zolghadr; and a lead essay by Juan Gaitán.
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Artists included are: Erick Beltrán, Mark Boulos, Keren Cytter, Omer Fast, Shaun Gladwell, Ragnar Kjartansson, Amalia Pica, Slavs and Tatars, Cassie Thornton, Dawn Weleski, and Artur Zmijewski