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Kay Rosen, No Noose Is Good Noose

Alexander Gray Associates
508 West 26th Street, 2nd floor, 212-399-2636
November 19, 2008 - January 10, 2009
Reception: Wednesday, November 19, 6 - 8 PM
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Alexander Gray Associates is pleased to present, in association with Yvon Lambert Gallery, a project with Kay Rosen. On exhibit will be Rosen’s 1983 text-based installation, No Noose is Good Noose, and a related unpublished artist book Mined, both of which are key works in Rosen’s development as an innovator with text as image. The show runs concurrent with the solo exhibition Scareful, featuring new works by Rosen at Yvon Lambert Gallery’s spaces in New York and Paris.

Since the early 1980s, Kay Rosen has explored the visual possibilities of language, representing syntax, subtext, and phonetics through clever arrangement and re-arrangement of words, letters, and sounds. Rosen’s best known work is recognized for its pared-down, double entendres, palindromes, and subversive slogans; less known is a body of work from the early 1980s in which Rosen utilized visual imagery. Much of this imagery presented an instructive component: shapes of lips to reinforce cultural aspects of phonetics, figurative symbols that were embedded with political content.

No Noose is Good Noose (1983) is a multi-paneled installation, hand-painted on sheets of board and Plexiglas, combining figuration with language. The children’s word game Hangman is a jumping-off point for Rosen’s exploration of how language is widely used to motivate, organize, and execute political revolution. Made at a peak of the Reagan-era, the piece conflates motion and movement—literal and metaphorical—building a circular narrative in which declarations are transformed into policy. As Rosen’s linguistic universe illuminates, words are not only tools for manipulation, but also for democratic and open-ended possibility, depending on the positioning of the messenger and the recipient.

Kay Rosen’s work was the subject of a 1998 retrospective exhibition organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art and Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino.
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