Tim Rollins and K.O.S.


Born in 1955, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA. Died in 2017.

Tim Rollins is an artist, teacher and activist who began his career as the assistant of the conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. In1979, he founded Group Material in New York. In the early 1980s, he taught ‘at risk’ students with learning disabilities at Intermediate School 52 in the Bronx and went on to create the Art & Knowledge Workshop. His highly acclaimed collaboration with the members of K.O.S. (Kids of Survival) continues to this day. Rollins combines lessons in reading and writing with making artworks. The source material laid out and studied by the students generally relates to literary or musical classics, such as works by William Shakespeare, George Orwell, Ralph Ellison or Franz Schubert, but can also include comics or legal documents. Their collaborative work takes the form of drawings, photographs, sculptural objects and paintings on canvas and paper. The backgrounds of works are often comprised of pages of books pasted into a grid. The results blend elements of Minimalism with an interest in the revival of painting that took place in the 1980s and in art that is socially and politically engaged. He has said: “What we’re doing changes people’s conception about who can make art, how art is made, who can learn and what’s possible, because a lot of these kids had been written off by the school system. This is our revenge.”

The original K.O.S. members dispersed and now live in several different American cities. Some have gone on to become artists in their own right.

His work was presented in several international exhibiton: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland (2014); Palle Nielsen: The Model, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, U.K. (2013); Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland (2012); Galleria d´Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy (2011); Art Unlimited, Art 41 Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2010); The Frye Art Museum, Seattle/WA, U.S.A. (2010); The Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia/NY, U.S.A. (2009); National Academy of Science, Washington/WA, U.S.A. (2009); the Whitney Biennale in New York in 1985, 1991 and 2006 and Documenta in Kassel in 1987.

Selected works

Our exhibitions

Solo Group

Group exhibition


June 27th — July 25th, 2020

Group exhibition

Dark Waters

June 12th — July 24th, 2014

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