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Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (American, b.1955)
LOT ID: 79226
The Nature Theater of Oklahoma, 1987

Watercolor, gold watercolor on book page, laid on canvas
31 х 31 in. (78.74 x 78.74 cm.)
Signed, on verso
Lot description
Like much of the work by this collaboration, “The Nature Theater of Oklahoma” references classic literature. Named for the penultimate chapter of Franz Kafka’s “Amerika,” the large, whimsical figures, executed in gold watercolor, are painted directly on pages of the book itself. Combining the literary with the visual, the work of Tim Rollins and K.O.S. challenge the notion of what art is and who can make it. The "H"and "B" at the bottom corners reference the 1987 Howard Beach tragic incident wherein a black man was runover by a car while fleeing from a group of white youth that was attacking him.
Conceptual artist Tim Rollins (b. 1955) earned his BFA from the School of Visual Art in New York in 1977, and later studied art education and philosophy at New York University. He co-founded the artists’ collective Group Material in 1980, a group of young artists in the East Village whose work largely focused on social issues such and gender and consumerism. A year later, Rollins began teaching art for special education middle school students at a public school in the South Bronx. In 1984, he started the Art and Knowledge Workshop in the Bronx with a group of at-risk students who called themselves K.O.S., or Kids of Survival. Much of their work is created through a process they call "jammin," where one of the members reads a passage from a novel while the others draw related imagery. These images are later cut out and pasted on a grid made up of the pages of the novel. Although Rollins has continued to with K.O.S. since its inception, the individual members have changed over time. A critically-acclaimed documentary about the collaboration, “Kids of Survival: The Art and Life of Time Rollins & K.O.S.,” was released in 1997. The group has had numerous solo exhibitions, including the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; The Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL; Cincinnati Museum of Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, OH; Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, GA; and Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland. In 2009, a retrospective of the group’s work opened at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College and traveled to the Frye Museum in Seattle and the ICA Philadelphia later that year. Tim Rollins and K.O.S. live and work in New York City.

Selected Public Collections:
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Hirshhorn Museum of Art, Washington DC
Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington DC
Tate Modern, London, England
The Nature Theater of Oklahoma by Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
  • The Nature Theater of Oklahoma by Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
  • The Nature Theater of Oklahoma by Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
  • The Nature Theater of Oklahoma by Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
  • The Nature Theater of Oklahoma by Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
  • The Nature Theater of Oklahoma by Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
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