About Studio K.O.S.

Studio K.O.S.'s history dates to the early 1980s, when artist Tim Rollins was recruited to serve as an art and literacy teacher at Intermediate School 52 in the South Bronx. Rollins was twenty-six at the time and had recently graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he studied with conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. He was also a core member of the artist collective Group Material.

At Intermediate School 52, Rollins was assigned to work with students classified as "at risk," yet his work immediately challenged the institutional structures and assumptions underlying such labels. It was here that Rollins developed jamming as a method of literacy instruction. In this process, Rollins or a student would read a text aloud—often a work of classic literature—while others drew, painted, and collaged on pages from the same text. Jamming motivated students to engage challenging works of literature and produce collective artworks.

Rollins soon expanded the project from the classroom by initiating an after-school program called the Art and Knowledge Workshop, allowing him and his students to work without being constrained by the restrictions of the public school system. In the Workshop, Rollins supported students with their homework and, as a group, they produced paintings and prints through their jamming method. The Workshop became the artist collective Tim Rollins and Kids of Survival (K.O.S.).

In 1986, the group held their first public exhibition at Jay Gorney Modern Art. They subsequently participated in major exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial (New York, 1985 and 1991), Documenta (Kassel Germany, 1987), and the Venice Biennale (1988). The group continued to work and exhibit collectively until Rollins' passing in 2017, after which they have continued and re-imagined the project under the name Studio K.O.S.


Reading Resources: Studio K.O.S. was produced by Wendy Tronrud (A. R. T. Education Advisor) in collaboration with Art Resources Transfer (A.R.T.) and the Walker Art Center in 2020–21.

In memory of Tim Rollins.

A.R.T. would like to thank the Walker Art Center; in particular Nisa Mackie (Head of Public Engagement, Learning, and Impact), Simona Zappas (Youth Programs Coordinator), and Sara Shives (Production Manager).

We are grateful for the financial support of our generous funders. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Additional support was granted by:
National Endowment for the Arts
H.W. Wilson Foundation
Wilhelm Family Foundation
Maureen Paley
A.R.T. Board of Directors
A.R.T. Advisory Board

Most specially, we thank Studio K.O.S.: Angel Abreu, Jorge Abreu, Robert Branch, and Ricardo Savinon.

Web programming by Document Services.
Copyright © Art Resources Transfer, Inc 2021.

All images are protected under copyright by the original rights holders.

A.R.T. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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