Lehmann Maupin Gallery announces its second solo exhibition of works by Tim Rollins and K.O.S., on view 24 March – 30 April, 2011 at 540 W. 26th Street. The exhibition will continue the artists’ extensive practice of challenging notions of art through deep engagement with literary and historical texts.
Tim Rollins and K.O.S. will feature new works that critically investigate Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (after Mark Twain, 1885), The Great Gatsby (after F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925), and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (after Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, 1930). Tim Rollins and K.O.S. mine the literature and historical information surrounding them for visual motifs that transcend the object and reveal a contemporary message. For their paintings related to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tim Rollins and K.O.S. were inspired by the original illustrations Mark Twain commissioned by F.W. Kemble. These works continue a series, which began in 2000, of whitewashed book pages painted over in indigo. In exploration of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, The Great Gatsby, the artists create a study of the color symbolism that permeates the novel. For works based on The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, the artists utilized Kurt Weill’s original operatic score, creating nets of butcher’s twine and gold paint to stretch over the pages, generating a new interpretation of the piece.
Tim Rollins studied fine art at the University of Maine and earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. After graduate studies in art education and philosophy at New York University, Rollins began teaching art for special education middle school students in a South Bronx public school. In 1984, he launched the "Art and Knowledge Workshop" in the Bronx together with a group of at-risk students who called themselves K.O.S. (Kids of Survival). The group has exhibited extensively worldwide at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the DIA Art Foundation, New York; de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the ICA Boston among others. Their work is represented in prestigious public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum of Art; the Tate Gallery London and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. A retrospective of the group's 20 year career opened at The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College opening in 2009 and travelled to the Frye Museum in Seattle and the ICA Philadelphia later that year. The exhibition was accompanied by a fully-illustrated hardcover catalogue, co-published by the Tang Museum and MIT Press.