4th St and Constitution Ave
Washington, DC 20565, USA
Commissioned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. to cover the construction wall at the East Building's Main Entrance over a period of renovation, Kay Rosen's SORRY (2020-2021) cleverly acknowledges the museum's temporary closure while simultaneously implying larger issues relating to institutional voice, care, and responsibility. In her language-based artworks, Rosen investigates how colour, scale, material, composition, and typography affect meaning and structure. Her imaginative strategies challenge the way we see and interpret the texts we read.
Rosen created SORRY in response to the renovation of the East Building façade. She started with the word itself—an apology for inconvenience—and then isolated and repeated so. By combining the linguistic unit so with a comma and a hyphen, Rosen generates a range of expressions, from a half-hearted apology to a sincere one.
SORRY also poses bigger questions. Whose big voice might be expressing sorrow? The museum’s? The artist’s? A spiritual power's? Who are the intended recipients of the apology? And sorry for what? The artist leaves that open to interpretation. These questions leave spaces to be filled up with viewers’ associations and interpretations, and is in its own way a brilliant interactive artwork.
SORRY is on view outside the main entrance of the East Building through March 27.
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