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Aspen Art Museum


Kay Rosen Open Studio: ABCDEFGHI!


My artwork uses language as its subject. I’m sort of an artist-writer. So I thought of an art project for you that involves words and letters.


Mixed media


Pencil, marker, crayons, paint, charcoal, or colored pencils; paper or cardboard


Make a list of eight words whose letters are consecutive in the alphabet. That means the letters in the words must follow the same order as they do in the alphabet. For example: you may use the word ANT because A comes before N, and N comes before T in the alphabet. But you may not use the word CAR because C comes after A in the alphabet. You may use words of any length, from DO to ALMOST (a freebie, you may use ALMOST as one of your 8 words). Try not to use words that have double letters, like ADD, but if you have to, it’s OK, because this is harder than you think. You may use any medium and any colors you want: pencil, marker, crayons, paint, charcoal, or colored pencils. Probably paper or cardboard is the best surface. You may make the list any size—small, medium, or large.

There was a Frenchman named George Perec who wrote an entire book without using the letter E. That was really hard because E is such a useful letter. If you have time after you make your list of eight words, try writing a paragraph without using the letter E.

DGOO CKLU! (That’s “Good Luck” spelled with the letters in their alphabetical order, but not in the correct order as in the word.)

About the artist

Born in 1947 in Corpus Christi, Texas

Currently lives in Gary, Indiana

Rosen’s educational background was in languages, but shortly after she completed her Master’s Degree she switched to making art because a lot of the things that interested her about language were visual. As a result, she uses language as the image in her paintings, drawings, editions, collages, and installations on walls, billboards, and buildings. Rosen’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in museums, galleries, and institutions nationally and internationally for several decades, including at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Art Institute of Chicago. She taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for 18 years. Among her honors are three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. For more about her work, visit

AAM education programs are made possible by the Questrom Education Fund.