This work was made by Rollins and nine members of K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), a group of teenagers from the South Bronx who collaborate with Rollins to create visual art based on works of literature. In response to Franz Kafka’s novel Amerika (1927), the artists painted golden horns of various configurations on top of pages from the book. Karl Rossman, the protagonist of Kafka’s novel, emigrates to New York in search of freedom and work, only to be confronted with oppression and destitution. Karl is recruited to join a mysterious project called the Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, where he encounters hundreds of women dressed as angels elevated on concealed platforms, playing golden horns. Beneath the painted elements, the book pages form a grid that supports the more organic shapes, creating an image that, according to Rollins, is at once “unified and chaotic, elegant and furious.”
Gallery label from What is Painting? Contemporary Art from the Collection, July 7–September 17, 2007 .