On the Nature of the Universe (after Lucretius)
Watercolor, acrylic ink, India ink, aqaba paper, collage, book paper on
76 x 54 inches
Tim Rollins + K.O.S.
Tim Rollins + K.O.S.
Tim Rollins—conceptual artist, teacher, and engaging individual—established an after-school workshop in 1982 for teenagers whose schools classified them as “learning disabled,” “dyslexic,” and “emotionally handicapped.” The self-named K.O.S. (Kids of Survival) is a semi-changing group of these teens that regularly attend Rollins’ workshop in New York’s South Bronx. Rollins firmly believes that all students can comprehend and benefit from an in-depth study of the works of great artists, writers, and composers. Over the course of the past 23 years, the group has created pieces inspired by such classics as Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, Franz Kafka’s Amerika, and Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
The critical acclaim this art collective has received is based not only on the quality of their work, but also on Rollins’ ability to positively impact the lives of his young collaborators. He has served as a mentor to many students, and some have gone on to pursue careers in art, studying at such esteemed schools as Cooper Union, School of Visual Arts, Bard College, and SUNY Purchase. The group's artworks are included in the permanent collections of over seventy major museums, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
On the Nature of the Universe
The NAS commissioned Rollins to lead a three-day workshop (April 13-15, 2005) with students at Banneker High School. During the workshop, participants created a piece of artwork based on their study of Lucretius’ ancient didactic poem On the Nature of the Universe. In this epic, written in the first century B.C., the poet aims to free humanity of its superstitions and fears about death and celebrates the teachings of Epicurus, a Greek theorist who believed that the cosmos was comprised of atoms. Today, Lucretius is credited as an original thinker who has exerted a great influence on western science and philosophy.
The NAS and Benjamin Banneker High School
This workshop is part of an ongoing partnership between the NAS and Banneker High School, a math and science magnet school known for academic excellence and highly motivated students. The school is named for Benjamin Banneker, an African American astronomer and engineer who helped design the layout of Washington DC. The NAS offers summer internships to Banneker students pursuing careers in science, and leaders from both institutions meet at least twice a year to plan other collaborative activities.
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