Tim Rollins and KOS : A Breakdown of Theory and Practice
The author presents her summer internship at a camp sponsored by the Boulder (CO) Museum of Contemporary Art and a program at the Denver Museo de las Americas and explores the theories and practices of Tim Rollins and the Kids of Survival (KOS) art collective. Looking at how the collective began, Rollins' influences, philosophers that address new ways of teaching and the movement toward a less exclusive form of art making. She addresses the level of success of the collectives in terms of how the collective functions as a group, and how they break from or do not break away from authoritarian teaching methods that in turn uphold oppressive and oppressor relationships. Tim Rollins and KOS represents a new kind of art making, one that is based on collaborative work between Tim Rollins and a group of students that are considered fit for special needs. The group of students is made up of African-American and Latino- American students where many are diagnosed with dyslexia and have trouble reading. Based on readings of the philosopher, Paulo Freire, and the theorists, Robert Coles, and Dewey, Rollins strives to combine reading and art that will be more productive. The collective originally began in 1982 and has been running ever since, showing and selling in art galleries all over the world. Most of the students stay in the collective until they finish school. Rollins has kept the collective going, choosing the literature that the students read and choosing which students come into the collective. Despite his intentions of breaking down the hierarchical relationships, the limited intercultural dialogue and the Western-focused texts and artwork that were researched shows that Rollins, despite his best efforts, does have a bias, and this bias mirrors the authoritarian pedagogies he is attempting to dismantle.