A groundbreaking artist
Allan Bridge was a visual and conceptual artist born in 1945 in Falls Church Virginia. After majoring in art at the Univeristy of Chicago, he returned to DC for a ten year stint and launched a promising career as a among the “Color Painters” of that period. But in his own words his work “was characterized by restless searching” and soon he moved on to a more interactive type of work.
He began to build interactive machines in the mid seventies and during the machine building period moved to New York, in 1977. His machine period culminated in a piece called Crime Time an interactive machine from which one attempts to “steal” a marble. Depending on the results of his spin of “the wheel of fate” a viewer either successfully removes a marble from the large Plexiglass box, or gets caught and punished, losing the marble and having his hand trapped in the machine for a short period of time. This machine, Bridge admitted to his wife Marissa, was a veiled attempt to apologize for his own shoplifting career. Bridge had shoplifted art books and art supplies for his entire adult life up until the creation of Crime Time. Inspired by his success at turning over a new leaf through a secret process of confession, he was inspired to offer the same opportunity to others.
The Apology Line was an interactive work of art he conceived as the next step in his development. It seemed to end his restless searching as he stuck with this last project for fifteen years. From 1980 to 1995, he collected and played back the anonymous apologies of criminals and other wrong doers on a home answering machine in his down town Manhattan loft.
Allan Bridge was also a diver, as was his wife Marissa. He preferred diving in cold northern waters. On August 5th, 1995 while diving in the heavily trafficked Shinnecock Inlet on Long Island, Bridge was struck and killed by a jet skier. The hit and run was witnessed by two people on shore, but the person responsible for the death of Allan Bridge was never found.
After his death with the help of some regular callers, Marissa Bridge was able to get the word out to The Apology community that “Mr. Apology,” as he called himself on the line, was gone. Calls of grief and condolence came flooding in. Also with the help of some regular callers, Marissa published a final Zine, in memorium, and held a memorial service at Strawberry field, where many of the community gathered, most of whom were meeting each other face to face for the very first time.
"The purpose of apology is to provide a way for criminals and wrongdoers to apologize for their misdeeds in the hope that this will help them turn over a new leaf. At the end of this program you may record any statement you care to make.”
-- Allan Bridge