new-york

Kay Rosen, White House v. America, 2018, acrylic on wall, dimensions variable. © Kay Rosen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Kay Rosen

Alexander Gray Associates

Kay Rosen, White House v. America, 2018, acrylic on wall, dimensions variable. © Kay Rosen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

That politics should have been on Kay Rosen’s mind in preparing this show, “Stirring Wirds,” is in tune with the tenor of her work for some decades past—politics are a habit of mind for her. But the times of Donald Trump have given her special urgency. Of course, I thought the same thing a dozen years ago about the times of George W. Bush, when Rosen produced acute responses to the fate of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. When something bad happens, we sometimes console ourselves by saying, “Could be worse.” Given recent trajectories, though, this may not be such a reassuring idea.

Rosen is a visual artist who takes a crossword puzzler’s pleasure in puns, anagrams, and other kinds of wordplay both familiar and self-invented. She is hardly the first artist to make verbal language her material—that enterprise goes back at least to Marcel Duchamp and is the stuff of

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