press release

In 1982, while working as an art teacher in a junior high school in the South Bronx, Tim Rollins founded the Art and Knowledge Workshop, an alternative after-school program for students with learning difficulties. The workshop was designed to encourage a greater interest in literature, and for one of the first projects, Rollins had his students draw at their desks while he read aloud George Orwell's 1984. All of the students had copies of the book; one misunderstood the instructions and drew directly on the pages. The creative possibilities of placing images over text excited the class, so they applied the pages of the entire novel to a canvas and began working in concert on a large-scale composition. The process has since become the trademark of the collaboration between Rollins and the students, who call themselves Kids of Survival—K.O.S.—in recognition of the skills acquired through participation in the workshop, which have helped them to better navigate the social, cultural, and political factions that make up their world.

The twenty works in the exhibition at the Palmer Museum of Art represent the variety of media explored by Tim Rollins and K.O.S. Included are a number of studies for some of the group's major projects, and several prints which demonstrate an interest in carrying the creative and learning processes well beyond the large paintings. The show also contains some early works that mark the formative years of the Art and Knowledge Workshop, as well as a few smaller yet fully-realized collaborations. Regardless of format or medium, however, most of the pieces in the exhibition display the image-over-text relationship that for the past sixteen years has remained central to the Tim Rollins and K.O.S. method of making art.

The exhibition is offered in conjunction with a museum-sponsored workshop for middle and high school students that Tim Rollins and members of K.O.S. will hold October 19-23 at the State College Area High School. Additionally, Tim Rollins will give a lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art at the annual Pennsylvania Art Education Association conference at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 24, in The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.


only in german

Tim Rollins & KOS
A Paper Retrospective