Collaboration and Revelation
Text by Ruth DeYoung Kohler, Ezra Shales, Glen Brown.
Founded in 1974 as a one-month experiment to open up new opportunities for extraordinary artists, Arts/Industry brought together two spirited partners: the groundbreaking John Michael Kohler Arts Center, then in its infancy, and Kohler Co., a 100-year-old leader in the international plumbingware industry. The program took the ceramic arts community by storm and through the years transformed artists' interests and university curricula regarding clay from molds. Today, Arts/Industry is hailed as the most unusual and successful ongoing collaboration between the arts and industry in the U.S. Each year, approximately 16 artists worldwide are selected for two- to six-month residencies to explore new technologies as well as ways of thinking and to create whole new bodies of work and/or public commissions in Kohler Co.'s Pottery, Iron and Brass Foundries and Enamel Shop. Published on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of Arts/Industry, this landmark book presents a profusely illustrated history of the program from the perspective of its founder and director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Ruth DeYoung Kohler, Kohler Co. Chairman and CEO Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., artists-in-residence, Kohler Co. industrial staff and art historians Ezra Shales and Glen Brown. Chapters explore some of the program's major emphases: experimentation, originality and multiplicity, the impact of the industrial setting on the artistic process and the interaction between artists and industrial artisans.