On view through August 31

The Arts Center marks the fortieth anniversary of its renowned Arts/Industry residency program with a sweeping survey of nearly 350 works of art created by artists in the Kohler Co. Pottery, Iron and Brass Foundries, and Enamel Shop.

This first-ever retrospective exhibition includes works drawn primarily from the collections of the Arts Center and Kohler Co. The exhibition, curated by Arts Center Director Ruth DeYoung Kohler, recounts the history of this groundbreaking program and explores its effects on artists’ studio practices and ways of thinking, its critical impact in the broader art world, and its influence on factory culture. Click here to hear more. A companion publication will be available for purchase this summer.

Arts/Industry began in 1974 as a bold experiment to make the creative potential of industry available to artists. Kohler, granddaughter of Kohler Co.’s founder as well as an artist, educator, and, at the time, the newly appointed director of the Arts Center, conceived this most unusual collaboration between arts and industry. Each year, sixteen to twenty-two artists spend two- to six-months producing original works of art in the Kohler Co. factory.

Certain themes weave throughout the work produced over the four decades—concepts such as the multiplicity of industrial production, the adaptive potential of the sleek forms of plumbingware, and the massive scale made possible by the factory equipment and materials. In addition, the experience connects the artists’ work to the rich history of material culture and to the social context of the factory setting.

Arts/Industry was founded and is coordinated by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and is hosted and supported by Kohler Co.

The ARTS/INDUSTRY: COLLABORATION AND REVELATION exhibition is made possible through grants from Kohler Co., Kohler Trust for the Arts and Education, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, BMO Harris Bank, the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The related publication is made possible in part by a grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.