Studio K.O.S.

Studio K.O.S. (Kids of Survival) are a continuation and a reimagining of the collective practice founded by Tim Rollins in the early 1980s. The group’s current members—Angel Abreu, Jorge Abreu, Robert Branch, and Rick Savinon—continue to pursue its decades-long investigation of art-making as a process of collaborative learning and literacy-building.

At the core of their work is jamming: a process in which the artists read a work of literature aloud while the group draws, paints, and collages on pages from the same text. Building on the legacies of conceptual art as much as those of the civil rights movement and radical pedagogy, the group insists that art-making and reading are transformative for self and society alike.

Guiding Questions

How do we make history so we are not made by it?

Through their collaborative process, Studio K.O.S. rethink what art and reading can do. Using literature—literally and figuratively—as the material for their work, Studio K.O.S. refuse to be passive readers. Instead they actively transform texts and collectively produce new interpretations that insist on the relevance and value of their lived experiences.

About Studio K.O.S.

Studio K.O.S.'s history dates to the early 1980s, when artist Tim Rollins was recruited to serve as an art and literacy teacher at Intermediate School 52 in the South Bronx. Rollins was twenty-six at the time and had recently graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he studied with conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. He was also a core member of the artist collective Group Material.

A.R.T. & Walker Art Center

Reading Resources: Studio K.O.S. was developed through a unique collaboration between A.R.T., the Walker Art Center, and the artists themselves in September 2020.


The following exercises are structured to sequentially build on each other. We encourage you to adapt them to your teaching activities.

Activity Group 1: Looking Exercises

Before practicing jamming in your classroom, take some time to look at the various artworks that Tim Rollins and K.O.S. developed from their own jamming process.

Activity Group 2: Jamming and Adaptations

Reading a text is often understood as an individual process, and we are typically taught to read books quietly to ourselves. Jamming is a process that breaks apart this limited definition of reading, providing more support and possibilities for all readers.

Activity Group 3: Collaboratively Reading Martin Luther King

Expand your work with Studio K.O.S. by question jamming through a collaborative reading of Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermon "Transformed Nonconformist."

Additional Materials

Download the Studio K.O.S. Resource Packet: a compilation of excerpted texts on Tim Rollins and K.O.S. produced by A.R.T. and the Walker Art Center

Read "Tim Rollins and K.O.S.": reflections on Tim Rollins and the collective's history by Studio K.O.S. member Angel Abreu in The Paris Review

Browse online resources from "Studio K.O.S.: The Continuing Legacy of Tim Rollins and Kids of Survival": the artist collective's 2021 exhibition at the Wexler Gallery

Learn about the history of Studio K.O.S. workshops through this Workshop Outline by Studio K.O.S. member Angel Abreu


Reading Resources: Studio K.O.S. is available as a downloadable PDF.

We would also love to hear how you have used Reading Resources. Please share feedback and student work at [email protected].


Reading Resources: Studio K.O.S. was produced by Wendy Tronrud (A. R. T. Education Advisor) in collaboration with Art Resources Transfer (A.R.T.) and the Walker Art Center in 2020–21.

In memory of Tim Rollins.

A.R.T. would like to thank the Walker Art Center; in particular Nisa Mackie (Head of Public Engagement, Learning, and Impact), Simona Zappas (Youth Programs Coordinator), and Sara Shives (Production Manager).

We are grateful for the financial support of our generous funders:

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Further support was granted by:
National Endowment for the Arts
H.W. Wilson Foundation
Wilhelm Family Foundation
Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation
Maureen Paley
A.R.T. Board of Directors
A.R.T. Advisory Board
Most specially, we thank Studio K.O.S.: Angel Abreu, Jorge Abreu, Robert Branch, and Ricardo Savinon.

Design by Document Services and Other Means.

Copyright © Art Resources Transfer, Inc. 2021.

All images are protected under copyright by the original rights holders.

A.R.T. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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