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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

A work made of latex paint on wall.
© 2012 Kay Rosen.

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  • A work made of latex paint on wall.




Kay Rosen
American, born 1943

About this artwork

Kay Rosen uses words and letters as a means of examining the ways in which language structures knowledge, particularly, in terms of awareness of self and place. Painting is her primary medium; she has created modestly sized canvases, as well as expansive wall works and large, site-specific outdoor projects comprised exclusively of paint, color, and language. Between a Rock and a Hard Place depicts the word “KANDAHAR” in large, gray letters. On either side of KANDAHAR, two partial letters, cropped by the left and right edges, are visible: C on the left and D on the right. The title, however, illuminates what is missing. Kandahar is the name of a province in Afghanistan, as well as of the country’s second largest city. It is significant that the name of one of the world’s most conflicted terrains is contained within one of the most common aphorisms used to describe conflict.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Kay Rosen


Between a Rock and a Hard Place


United States (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Latex paint on wall


Dimensions variable

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan, Norman Waite Harris, Ann M. Vielehr prize funds; Jacob and Bessie Levy Art Encouragement Fund; Laura Slobe Memorial, William H. Bartles, Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Brower, and William and Bertha Clussman prize funds

Reference Number



© 2012 Kay Rosen.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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