The AP Questionnaire: Tim Rollins

Tim Rollins (AP Faculty) is a Bronx-based artist and educator. In 1984, he launched the “Art and Knowledge Workshop,” with a group of at-risk students who called themselves K.O.S. (Kids of Survival). Since its inception, the group has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. 

What was the last thing you made?

The last thing I made was a killer spaghetti puttanesca dinner while getting home late.  Before that KOS and I collaborated with kids from the Rafael Hernandez Dual Language School here in the South Bronx under the sponsorship of the Bronx Museum of Art (I'm chair of the Education Committee on the Board of Trustees there now) to make a substantial work based on W.E.B. Dubois' Darkwater, a section of which entered the permanent collection of the Bronx Museum of Art and was featured big time in the "Art Unlimited" exhibition in Basel.  

What was the last thing you read?

The last two books I've read almost at the same time are Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss and Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action by Jurgen Habermas.

What was the last exhibition you saw?

I just saw the Mark Rothko "Dark Palette" exhibition at the Pace Gallery. There was one painting - Untitled from 1955 - that I did not know.  Rothko always said he wanted folks to cry in front of his work and I always resisted but in this case ...  the (always) African American guards came over to make sure I was alright and I just responded "I'm OK ... I'm just having Church."  Response: "We got you."

What motivates your practice?

My motivation is and always shall be Love in Action.

How has your practice changed?

I've been working in a collective for over 30 years (Studio KOS) so as the participants change and grow the out of control organism evolves into an organic democracy (that's John Dewey's term) and, let's get real, an unconventional Family.

Who do you most admire?

I most admire Jesus and MLK (and John Cage).

Your favorite artwork made before your lifetime?

I have to proclaim two works: First is the Isenheim Alterpiece by Grunewald in Colmar and The Temptation of St. Antony chine collé lithograph by Odilon Redon (I own one and I'm looking at it right now as I'm writing this.)

Your favorite artwork made during your lifetime?

Again two heartbreaking works that I have decided to live with ... both untitled and by strong friends: a large work on paper by Sigmar Polke and a very private special work (it's a gift after he passed) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.  

I'm a wonderfully blessed man.