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The List Portfolio (Ugly Duckling, Homophonia, Liszt, Liste/List)

The List Portfolio (Ugly Duckling, Homophonia, Liszt, Liste/List)

Kay Rosen The List Portfolio (Ugly Duckling, Homophonia, Liszt, Liste/List) 1990 Set of four screenprints

Image/paper size: 30 1/8 x 22 1/2 inches each (76.5 x 57.2 cm each)
Edition of 25
Signed, titled, dated and numbered in pencil on verso
(Inventory #23232)

THE LIST PORTFOLIO consists of four of the artist’s earliest lists, made between 1987 and 1990. They have a lot to do with sound:

“Ugly Duckling” is a found alphabetical list of names excerpted from the S section of the Gary, Indiana telephone book. The names are all ungraceful sounding with their multiple consonants, until Swan, the 27th and last name on the list.

“Liszt” classifies and enumerates all of the composer’s works (sonatas, concertos, symphonies, an opera, waltzes, choral works, rhapsodies, even literary works…) into a homonymic list.

“Homophonia” is a list of words identified by the artist that each contain a pair of identical looking and sounding letters, homophonic in other words. Just one letter away from homophobia, “Homophonia” is a verbal metaphor and short cut for the larger society, demonstrating the importance of like members to structure and meaning. It has been distributed as a handout in many venues, bookended between “The Center Show” in 1989 at The Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center, New York City, and “Once Upon a Time and Now” in 2015 at The LGBT Community Center, New York.

“Liste/List” is a two-part list of French and English words. Liste, the French words, look like English words. The second part, List, is the English translation of the French Liste, which also look like English words.

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