The Lenore G. Tawney Foundation has partnered with ICA-Art Conservation in Cleveland, Ohio and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, to clean and preserve Lenore Tawney’s Cloud Series VI, 1981, in Cleveland’s Frank J. Lausche State Office Building. Cloud Series VI is one of only two of Tawney’s extant Cloud sculptures. Its treatment was designed by ICA-Art Conservation and funded through a grant from the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation.
In 1980, Lenore Tawney was invited to create an “important interior work of art” for the lobby of the then new Lausche Building. The building had been conceived, in part, as an “art showcase,” featuring a large Tony Smith exterior sculpture. Tawney accepted the commission and installed Cloud Series VI in 1981. The piece is composed of 4,000 linen threads cascading 16 feet from a canvas canopy.
Lenore Tawney installing Cloud Series VI in 1981.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer immediately celebrated the sculpture’s “ethereal presence of dimension and light.” But as years passed, decades of dust settled on Cloud Series VI and in 2013 it was in danger of being removed. Recognizing the importance of the piece, the building’s facilities manager contacted the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation which facilitated a connection with ICA-Art Conservation. ICA-Art Conservation developed a proposal for treatment and a long-term preservation plan for the piece. With funds provided by the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, the work was carried out in situ by a conservator and a conservation technician, working from a 26’ scissor lift. The painted canvas canopy and each of the Cloud’s 4,000 threads (12-1/2 miles, if placed end to end) was individually cleaned. New LED lamps were then installed by ODAS staff electricians, providing the illumination Tawney had intended, but with greatly reduced levels of heat and UV radiation.
Cloud Series VI, treatment in progress, 2014. Photo: John T. Seyfried, Copyright ICA-Art Conservation
Lenore Tawney, Cloud Series VI, 1981, after cleaning. Photo: John T. Seyfried, Copyright ICA-Art Conservation
Through the successful partnership of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, ICA-Art Conservation, and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the ethereal beauty of Cloud Series VI has been restored, and an important piece of Cleveland’s public art preserved.