Exhibition - A Traveling Show

Arts and Entertainment

March 19, 2014

From: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

In 2009, Kay Rosen received a package in the mail from Matt Keegan. It contained two pages torn from a dictionary citing the abbreviations it used and a fragment from a newspaper article that cited two women's assessments of the habits that enabled them to reach their 114th birthdays. Rosen's response to Keegan a clipping from the New York Times announcing the last chance to visit a Jasper Johns exhibition that she affixed to the page with a bright yellow smiley face sticker and her copy of the Johns' work the announcement reproduced was the beginning of an artistic exchange that continues to this day. To date, nearly 60 special deliveries have made their way from one artist's studio to the other's mailbox. These packages have included drawings, photocopied articles, collages, and other printed matter that evidences a shared love of words, linguistic play, and humor.

Anchored by the comprehensive display of Keegan and Rosen's calls-and-responses, A Travelling Show is augmented by a selection of each artist's works. Matt Keegan's conceptually-driven practice explores interstices between words and images, revealing that the desire to communicate personal experience is ultimately one that is subjective, codified, and mutable. Circulation (2011) for example is an accordion-pleated aluminum sign patterned after one where the New York Public Library's picture collection is housed. Its angular construction offers the possibility of seeing the title word spelled out in two fonts that alternately appear complete and distinct or stutteringly interleaved cciirrccuullaattiioonn depending on one's position relative to it. Keegan plays the word's suggestion of mobility against the physical experience of navigating the sculpture. Kay Rosen's work with language implicates its readers as agents whose mental gymnastics bring her propositions to their logical conclusions. These arrivals are often accompanied by a "Eureka!" moment when Rosen's spatial restructurings of letters come into focus. In Removal from Office (2008), Rosen's selective italicization of lettershand-painted onto a wall removalL implies the possibility of a presidential deposition.

Presented publicly for the first time, Keegan and Rosen's private exchange alternately functions like a magnifying glass, a sextant, a decoder ring, and a serial novel: it offers a behind-the-scenes view of a friendship and active dialogue sparked by a shared dedication to bridging language and visuality, and it exemplifies some of the personal investigations and inspirations at play in Matt Keegan and Kay Rosen's unique artistic vocabularies.

June 28 September 21, 2014

Tue,Wed,Fri 10AM - 7PM
Thu 10AM 9PM
Sat 10AM 6PM
Sun 12PM 6PM
Closed Monday

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston,
Zilkha Gallery,
5216 Montrose Boulevard,
Houston, TX 77006