On Apology

On Apology

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

Shaun Gladwell, still from Apologies 1–6, 2009. Photo: Josh Raymond. Courtesy the artist and
Anna Schwartz Gallery.
April 19, 2012
On Apology

April 19–May 19, 2012

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
California College of the Arts
Kent and Vicki Logan Galleries
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247

T 415.551.9210


PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: Erick Beltrán, Mark Boulos, Keren Cytter, Omer Fast, Shaun Gladwell, Ragnar Kjartansson, Amalia Pica, Slavs and Tatars, Cassie Thornton, Dawn Weleski, and Artur Zmijewski


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.


Visit wattis.org and cca.edu/calendar for current information concerning exhibitions, related programs, screenings, lectures, and events.


About CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice
Founded in 2003, CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice offers an expanded perspective on curating contemporary art and culture. Alongside traditional forms of exhibition making, this two-year master’s degree program emphasizes the momentous impact over the last half-century of artist-led initiatives, public art projects, site-specific commissions, and other experimental endeavors that take place beyond the confines of established venues. It is distinguished by an international, interdisciplinary perspective, and it reflects San Francisco’s unique location and cultural history by placing a particular importance on the study of curatorial and artistic practices in Asia and Latin America. For more information, visit cca.edu/curatorialpractice.


About the CCA Wattis Institute
The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area. For more information about the Wattis Institute, visit wattis.org.


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CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
April 19, 2012

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