Tim Rollins and K.O.S.

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

This modest exhibition of approximately twenty woodcuts, sculptures, and paintings harks back to 1980s New York. Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), a collective that emerged at the beginning of the decade from Rollins’s pedagogical activities with a group of “at risk” students in a South Bronx public school, have produced a rich oeuvre based on the discussion and analysis of literary works ranging from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, to Kafka’s Amerika, to Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. The group’s collaborative practice can be viewed as an urgent response to the political and cultural conservativism of the ’80s—in which the art establishment endorsed a fierce return to traditional modes of production and circulation (i.e., neoexpressionist painting displayed in the white cube). Simultaneously, a cadre of collectives emerged (centered largely around the East Village) seeking

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