Collection Artwork
2017 43 pr w01
Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (South Bronx, New York, established 1981)
Invisible Man (after Ralph Ellison)
india ink, pencil on book pages
12 1/8 x 11 3/4 x 3/4 in.
Gift of the artists in honor of Ginger Ertz
United States, North America
Inscribed, signed, and dated, canvas verso, in black ink: Invisible / Man / (after Ralph Ellison) / [Tim Rollins monogram] / and / K.O.S. / 2012

Installation views

2017 43 pr i02
2017 43 pr i01

Object Label

“IM”: the initials of Invisible Man, the 1952 novel by Ralph Ellison on which this work is based. When read aloud, “IM” becomes “I am.” The two words form the beginning of “I am a man,” as in the protestors’ signs during the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike. Martin Luther King Jr. used those words, too. I am human. I am here. “I am an invisible man,” as in Ellison’s opening line.

What does it mean to be invisible? What does it mean to be forced to state one’s own humanity?

From the exhibition: Give a damn. (June 30 – September 30, 2018)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Learn more

Give a damn.
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