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Tim Rollins & K.O.S., b.

The Red Badge of Courage1988

While employed as a schoolteacher in the South Bronx in 1980 Tim Rollins worked with children who had been described as ‘learning disabled’ and ’emotionally handicapped’. Rollins took a different view. Refusing to accept that these disabilities were true, he placed an unwavering faith in the students, expecting and demanding excellence from them.

The students became known as ‘kids of survival’, or ‘K.O.S.’, and Rollins’ expectations were easily exceeded. Tim Rollins and K.O.S. have gone on to achieve a degree of success that few would have expected. The works are a combined effort by them and the groups that they work with. Taking books as a starting point Rollins reads aloud, while the group draws and paints in response. The resulting images are then manipulated – in this case, cut out and collaged onto a canvas, which the group have covered with the pages of the book. This work was made during a community-based project at the Orchard Gallery Derry, Northern Ireland in 1988, when Rollins and K.O.S conducted workshops with 12 teenagers from the Creggan neighbourhood.

MediumOil on bookpages on linen
Dimensions61 x 92 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donated by the artists, 1993
Item NumberIMMA.434
Not on view
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Image Caption
Tim Rollins & K.O.S., The Red Badge of Courage, 1988, Oil on bookpages on linen, 61 x 92 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donated by the artists, 1993

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: info@imma.ie.

About the Artist

Tim Rollins & K.O.S. , b.

American artist Tim Rollins (born 1955) studied at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and New York University. While working as an art teacher in the Bronx in the early 1980s, Rollins formed the K.O.S. (Kids of Survival) group with local teenagers who showed artistic potential. Engaging with mass culture, literature and politics, the group exhibited extensively in the 1980s. Their work is represented in significant public collections, including MoMA, New York and the Tate Gallery, London. — View Artist »