Tim Rollins and K.O.S.

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Tim Rollins

Tim Rollins (June 10, 1955 – December 22, 2017) [1] was an American artist who together with the art collaborative K.O.S. formed the art-group Tim Rollins and K.O.S (Kids of Survival). [2] [3]



Timothy William Rollins was born on June 10, 1955, in Pittsfield, Maine. [2] He was a day student at the Maine Central Institute before studying fine art at the University of Maine. [2] He then earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York (1975–77). [2] After graduate studies in art education and philosophy at New York University (1977 and 1979), [2] Rollins began teaching art for middle school students in a South Bronx public school. [4] In 1984, he launched the "Art and Knowledge Workshop" in the Bronx together with a group of at-risk students who called themselves K.O.S. (Kids of Survival). [5]

Since the founding of the Art & Knowledge Workshop in 1982, Tim Rollins & K.O.S. have produced allegorical paintings, sculptures and drawings by mining the vast wealth of printed matter - from the popular to the arcane, from the minor to the canonical, from legal documents to comic books (areas in no way mutually exclusive in Rollins & K.O.S.'s view) - which are themselves understood as political allegories. [6]

Rollins died in December 2017, aged 62. [1] The current members of K.O.S. at that time included Angel Abreu (b. 1974), Jorge Abreu (b. 1979), Robert Branch (b. 1977), Ala Ebtekar (b. 1978), Ricardo Nelson Savinon (b. 1971) and Noe Sosa (b. 1992). [1]


The group has exhibited worldwide, having participated in two Whitney Biennials (1985, 1991), Documenta (1987), the Venice Biennale (1988), the Carnegie International (1988) and in solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1988); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts (1988); Dia Art Foundation, New York, New York (1989); Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut (1990); Museum für Gegenwärtskunst Basel, Switzerland (1990); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California (1990); [7] and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (1992). [1]

Permanent collections

Their work can be seen in public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, [8] the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, [9] the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, [10] the Pérez Art Museum Miami, [11] and the Tate Gallery, London. [12]

In February 2009, a retrospective survey of the group's work opened at The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. [13]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Tim Rollins obituary". The Guardian . 2018-01-12. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Artist Tim Rollins, a Champion of Collaboration and a Powerful Evangelist for Art Education, Has Died at 62". Artnet News. 2017-12-27. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  3. Tim Rollins obituary, Hyperallergic.com; accessed 30 December 2017.
  4. Falconer, Morgan, Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press, 2009
  5. "Tim Rollins and K.O.S. - Xavier Hufkens". Xavierhufkens.com. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  6. Myoda, Paul, "Tim Rollins and K.O.S. at Mary Boone Gallery", Frieze Magazine, May 1995.
  7. "Exhibitions • MOCA". The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  8. "The Collection - MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  9. "Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden". Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  10. "Collections | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston". Archived from the original on 15 April 2013.
  11. "Amerika the Stoker • Pérez Art Museum Miami". Pérez Art Museum Miami. Retrieved 2023-08-25.
  12. "Tim Rollins born 1955". Tate.org.uk. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  13. "Login - Tang Museum". Tang Museum. Retrieved 31 December 2017.