The Bronx Museum of the Arts honors the late Tim Rollins with an upcoming exhibition, “Dialogues: Tim Rollins & K.O.S. and Glenn Ligon.” The exhibition takes the concept of dialogue as its departure point — an idea that was central to the works of this visionary artist and educator.
Tim Rollins (June 10, 1955 – December 22, 2017) was influenced deeply by the educational theories of Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire. He joined the art collaborative, K.O.S. to form the art-group Tim Rollins and K.O.S (Kids of Survival). As a Public School teacher in South Bronx starting in 1981, his educational approach was focal in instilling a sense of pride and belonging among students that often felt alienated from the mainstream. “For Rollins, the idea of dialog was also an integral part of his art practice, and we might consider the whole of his collaboration with K.O.S. as a sustained dialog not only among members of the group, but most importantly, with great interlocutors of the past, like W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, George Orwell, and Franz Kafka to mention but a few,” the museum says.
American artist Glenn Ligon (born, 1960, Bronx) also uses dialogue as an essential element to creating his art. He belongs to a generation of Black intellectuals that promoted the revolutionary ideas sowed by the leaders of the Civil Rights movement of the previous decades. His works often borrow ideas from noted African American visionaries like James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison. “Like Rollins, Ligon is perceptive to the power of words, and to how they can elevate or stigmatize individuals,” the museum says.
There are distinct characteristics in the works of both artists as well. “While the works of Rollins & K.O.S. often strike an elegiac tone, Ligon seems rather intent on speaking through the language of others. A case in point is how the topic of slavery is dealt differently in works such as ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl’ (1997), and the series of lithographs ‘Runaways’ (1993). Form, however, often works as an equalizer and we find a surprising echo between Ligon’s reworking of a poster used during the sanitation workers assembly in Memphis in 1968 (I AM A MAN), and Rollins & K.O.S.’ homage to Ralph Ellison’s ‘The Invisible Man’ (2008),” writes the museum.
“Dialogues: Tim Rollins & K.O.S. and Glenn Ligon” invites viewers to explore parallels between the approaches of Tim Rollins & K.O.S. and of Glenn Ligon, while also recognizing the distinct characteristics of their works.
The exhibition will be on view through July 15, 2018.
Bronx Museum Of The Arts,
1040 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10456