„Workshop“ marks the first solo survey show for the art collective Tim Rollins and K.O.S since Rollins’ passing in December 2017 – presented by Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, in collaboration with the late artist’s estate.
Curator Ian Berry, who organized the group’s first major traveling retrospective and monograph, Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: A History (2009) has chosen many of the collective’s most significant series that deal with issues of race, identity, history, and politics, spanning from 1987 to 2016.
Continuing the legacy of the group, the exhibition also marks the launch of Studio K.O.S., which will host Saturday workshops at the gallery throughout the exhibition (participants will be coordinated with local schools). As the collective’s second iteration, Studio K.O.S. will continue arts education and youth mentorship spearheaded by several of the foundational members, including Angel Abreu, Jorge Abreu, Robert Branch, and Rick Savinon.
Rollins began his career teaching art for special education students in a South Bronx public middle school. In 1984, he launched the Art Knowledge Workshop, which acted as an after-school program for his most dedicated students who named themselves Kids of Survival (K.O.S.).
At the forefront of social practice and intersectional dialogue, together Rollins and K.O.S. developed a unique method of art making that involved painting and drawing on the pages of books or sheet music adhered in a grid to the surface of a canvas.
Their influential work builds on diverse source materials, including literary classics by William Shakespeare and Mark Twain, foundational writings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, as well as musical compositions by Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss, and X-Men comics.
This exhibition highlights the breadth and lasting impact of the oeuvre of Tim Rollins and K.O.S., which encompasses minimal and conceptual modes of representation through language, literature, and history. For Rollins and the K.O.S. members who will now continue his legacy, their practice is concerned with opening a space for the voices of those who have been overlooked or silenced. In a voice that resonates profoundly today, Rollins is quoted saying:
„To dare to make history when you are young, when you are a minority, when you are working, or nonworking class, when you are voiceless in society, takes courage. Where we came from, just surviving is ‘making history.’ So many others, in the same situations, have not survived, physically, psychologically, spiritually, or socially. We were making our own history. We weren’t going to accept history as something given to us.“
All images courtesy of Lehmann Maupin Gallery // Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Workshop, Installation view, Lehmann Maupin, New York, 2019 // Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Amerika – For Karl, 1989, Watercolor on paper mounted on canvas, 97 x 132 inches, 246.4 x 335.3 cm // Tim Rollins and K.O.S. // A Midsummer Night’s Dream (after Shakespeare and Mendelssohn), 2014, Watercolor, ink, fruit juices, Thai mulberry paper, collage, mustard seed, music score pages on canvas, 48 x 72 inches, 121.9 x 182.9 cm.
TIM ROLLINS AND K.O.S
LEHMANN MAUPIN GALLERY
18 April – 15 June 2019