January 14, 2012 - Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel - Double Feature
January 14, 2012

Double Feature

Left: Tim Rollins & K.O.S., Pinocchio (After Carlo Collodi), 1992–93. Right: Karlheinz Weinberger, Zürich am Limmatqui, 1962, Courtesy The Estate of Karlheinz Weinberger in care of Patrik Schedler, Zurich and Artist Management Resources, New York.

Double Feature

Tim Rollins & K.O.S. : On Transfiguration
Karlheinz Weinberger: Intimate Stranger
21 January–15 April 2012

Opening: 20 January 2012

Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst
mit Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung
St. Alban-Rheinweg 60, CH-4010 Basel
Tue–Sun 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

T +41 (0) 61 206 62 62
F +41 (0) 61 206 62 53


More than twenty years after the Museum für Gegenwartskunst first presented the art of Tim Rollins & K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), the collective will now show a new selection of works with the exhibition On Transfiguration. Based on Tim Rollins’s studies of art as a form of collaboration in which individual creativity becomes operative as an agent of social change, the works pay poetic homage to the community, but also represent a political reference to the potential inherent in each individual.

When Rollins started teaching in a school in New York’s South Bronx in 1982, he developed a pedagogical method of social activism that aimed to foreground individual abilities. In his workshop “Art and Knowledge,” launched in one of America’s most acutely deprived neighborhoods, Rollins and his study group began to use classical and modern literature, philosophy, and political theory as raw materials. The writings of Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis Carroll, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Kafka, Homer, and William Shakespeare, to name but a few, become points of departure for a rich visual language. Modified pages from books are pasted directly onto the canvas, forming the foundation upon which the artists elaborate their interpretive approaches.

Though its membership has changed, the collective has been active for over two decades and the concept behind this form of transformation is a leitmotif that has defined its entire production since the beginning. It guides the process of creativity, influences the choice of underlying textual content, and ultimately becomes visually manifest in the individual works. The oeuvre of Tim Rollins & K.O.S. blends classical education and ‘street culture’, erudition and spontaneity, combining elements from various artistic movements such as Conceptual Art’s implementation of language as a medium of artistic expression and Arte Povera’s sensitivity to the political meaning of everyday objects.

Before the exhibition opens, a new work will be created locally, produced collaboratively in a workshop Tim Rollins & K.O.S. will conduct with a group of schoolchildren in Basel.

The exhibition On Transfiguration has been organized in collaboration with the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAMeC), Bergamo.

A catalogue accompanying the exhibition, edited by GAMeC, MGK Basel, and the Fon­dazione Galleria Civica, Trento, is being published by JRP I Ringier.

The exhibition Intimate Stranger presents the rarely shown work of the photographer Karlheinz Weinberger (1921–2006). Together with magazines and a selection of vintage apparel, the photographs document a youth culture in Zurich that emerged after World War II whose members sought to subvert contemporary notions of “Swiss correctness”. In a body of work that spanned many years, Weinberger portrayed what lay behind the curtains of 1960s bourgeois Switzerland, finding ways to document deviancy without ever putting his protagonists on display.

Weinberger spent the largest part of his life working in a warehouse for Siemens-Albis in Zurich. As a self-taught photographer, in his free time he took photographs portraying his lovers and people he met in the street. From the late 1940s on, he frequently published his pictures in “Der Kreis” (The Circle), a gay magazine produced in Zurich from 1943 until 1967 that garnered international attention, pseudonymously signing his work as “Jim.” In 1958, he launched a major project for which he would photograph a group of teenagers, the city’s so-called “Halbstarke,” over an extended period of time. Weinberger’s unfailingly respectful approach allowed him to capture the non-conformism of these “rowdies” with regard to social convention and their play with stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, most readily evident in the way they dressed. Wearing embroidered denim jackets and oversized belt buckles adorned with the likenesses of idols such as Elvis or James Dean, Weinberger’s adolescent subjects appear before his lens both as a group in public settings and individually in an improvised studio in his living room.

The exhibition Intimate Stranger was conceived by Gianni Jetzer of the Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art, New York, in collaboration with the estate of Karlheinz Weinberger, Patrik Schedler, and Artist Resources Management, New York.

Jeans, a facsimile of a portfolio Weinberger himself designed in the 1950s, has been published by MGK Basel, the Swiss Institute New York, Presentation House Gallery Vancouver, and Bywater Bros. Editions.

Press Office: Christian Selz, Tel. 0041 (0) 61 206 62 06, pressoffice@kunstmuseumbasel.ch

Double Feature at Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel
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