Tim Rollins and K.O.S. in Conversation with the Bronx Museum Teen Council
January 23 – May 31, 2010
This exhibition features two interviews by the Bronx Museum of the Arts Teen Council with renowned artist and educator Tim Rollins and four members of K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), a collective founded by Rollins in 1981 with high school students from the South Bronx.
Born in 1955 in Pittsfield, Maine, Rollins graduated from the University of Maine in 1978, after which he hitchhiked his way to New York to study with Joseph Kosuth at the School of Visual Arts. It was in Kosuth’s seminar class that Rollins met several future members of Group Material, the legendary collective in which Rollins played a central role. After graduate studies at New York University, Rollins began teaching art at Intermediate School 52 in the South Bronx, where, in 1984, he launched the Art and Knowledge Workshop with a group of his students who called themselves Kids of Survival. Since then, the group has exhibited extensively worldwide, and their work is represented in public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Tate Gallery, London.
The Bronx Museum Teen Council was created in 2005 with the mission of fostering leadership skills and community engagement among Bronx youths. Originally conceived around the production of a radio show, the eight-month-long program emphasizes media work through two weekly sessions conducted in the Bronx Museum Media Lab. In successive years, the Teen Council added the production of Musezine, a magazine entirely produced and designed by teens, and short videos and podcasts.
Every year the group interviews one artist whose work has been significant to the Bronx. The final product is released in DVD format, and a lesson plan is developed by the Museum’s Education Department. The series includes interviews with Afrika Bambaataa, Vito Acconci, Mierle Lederman Ukeles, Jamel Shabazz, and most recently, Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
Now in its fifth year, the Teen Council program has demonstrated great success in opening new paths for its participants in the arts and other disciplines. Several of the program’s alums have successfully transitioned to college life at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.; Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York; Parsons School of Design, New York City; and other educational institutions.