Metamorphosen (after Richard Strauss)


Tim Rollins ( American, 1955 - 2017 )

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General Description

Splattered ink stains sheet music from German composer Richard Strauss's Metamorphosen. It is believed that Strauss composed the piece to mourn the bombing of the Munich Opera House in 1945 and the Nazi destruction of German culture. The mist of ink that blackens the pages gives them the appearance of being covered in soot. The dark and emotional undertones in Rollins's work might also be referencing Strauss's tainted reputation vis-à-vis his relationship with the Nazi party. Although he accepted a post (from which he was later ousted) as president of the Reich Music Chamber, he privately hated Hitler.

Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (Kids of Survival) is a collective formed in the early 1980s by Rollins and his students during his time as an art teacher for "at-risk" kids in the South Bronx. Initially creating pieces during after-school studio workshops, their artistic interpretations of canonical texts placed over literal book pages were transgressive acts against the assumption that the students were not intelligent enough to comprehend the literature.

Adapted from

Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 132-133.