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Tim Rollins: Art For Survival

Jenny Asarnow
12/16/2010 at 8:00 p.m.

Tim Rollins was an art school graduate from Maine with a missionary attitude. He took a temp job teaching art to a special education class in a South Bronx middle school. It was 1981. Rollins says the neighborhood looked like a war zone. There were packs of wild dogs, and miles of abandoned buildings. Rollins says the school was in chaos. It had the highest number of violent attacks against teachers in the city. He showed up and told his students to make the best drawing they'd ever made in their lives. And they did.

Tim Rollins talks about making art to survive — "psychologically, spiritually and physically." His students called themselves Kids of Survival, or K.O.S., and they learned to make beautiful things as a dress rehearsal for a beautiful life. Tim Rollins and K.O.S. have exhibited work in museums all over the world. Their work is in permanent collections at more than 70 museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Tate Gallery in London.

Tim Rollins and a Kid of Survival — artist Angel Abreu — spoke at the Frye Art Museum on March 18, 2010.

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