Object Image

By Any Means Necessary (after Malcolm X)

Black diagonal lines intersect at multiple points to form the letter M and?three X's. Pages from The Autobiography of Malcolm X cover the surface of the canvas like wallpaper.

Artist Tim Rollins formed K.O.S. (Kids of Survival) in the 1980s with a group of high school students in the South Bronx. Many of their collaborations are inspired by literary classics. Published in 1965, months after the human rights activist's assassination, The Autobiography of Malcolm X has sold millions of copies and influenced generations of readers.

This artwork's title comes from a refrain often found in Malcolm X's speeches:

We want freedom by any means necessary.

We want justice by any means necessary.?

We want equality by any means necessary.

Credit: Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

2008
Matte acrylic and book pages on canvas
182.9 x 182.9cm
2010.18
Text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024
Image: 2008, Tim Rollin and K.O.S.

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