Tawney’s studio environment on view – Kohler Arts Center’s Art Preserve

Lenore Tawney Installation
Objects from the Lenore Tawney Collection displayed at the Art Preserve, Sheboygan, WI. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation and Kohler Foundation Inc.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center worked closely with the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation to acquire hundreds of key components from the artist’s last studio environment in 2019, with assistance from Kohler Foundation, Inc. The 486-piece collection includes artwork, collages, assemblages, furniture, and supplies.

An installation of Tawney’s studio environment is on view at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Art Preserve, which opened in 2021 and provides the public and researchers year-round access to an unparalleled collection of art environments that now includes works by more than 30 artists.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center: 608 New York Avenue, Sheboygan, WI
Art Preserve: 3636 Lower Falls Road, Sheboygan, WI

Free admission at both locations

Art Preserve

Grant Supports Conservation of Cloud Series VI

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.