Gallery: Object d’Art

Object d’art: Tone Poems, Ready-Mades/Modulations, and Etudes – –



London District Studios resident artist Kehren Barbour’s sculptural works, affordable collages of defunct and decommissioned piano parts, also line the walls. Stiped down keys in Victorian-esque frames carry feminine inflections… Others mounted on reclaimed birch wood stand along. Thus far, her #postpianoproject, as attempt at fostering a conversation at sustainability, has involved breaking down 11 tons of clavier material.

´its about use & reuse´ explains Barbour, noting her graduate degree in Sustainable Development. ´Patterns of manufacture, deconstruction, and ultimately re/use/ can be tracked through this rewarding medium.´

Quote is from Lauren Strepp from an article in Carolina Home (July 2016) that mentioned the Post Piano Project and Studio that houses Asheville studio of Kehren Barbour.


Works can be categories as: Tone Poems, Modulations, and Etudes.


“Souvenir”:  Tone Poems – –


Assemblages made from materials salvaged from decommissioned, deconstructed pianos. These collaged works are named after the french verb “to remember”. Title of “Tone Poems” references Strauss and his works. His “Tone Poems” are known for expressive range of musical subjects sometimes thought to be impossible to depict. We hope to capture similar ideas using parts and pieces of these beautiful instruments as tool to tell the story of our love for music.

img_20161125_174706  tonepoem_img_5007   img_5021






Ready-Mades: Modulatation

Mounted on reclaimed Siberian Birch, keys reclaimed from decommissioned, deconstructed pianos are arranged in silent homage to sounds sung






Assemblage, Private Collection (2016)


ppp_instal_totemimg_5039 Totem Series, 2015 – 2016 as installed at London District Studios, March 2016 (all pieces now part of private collections)

15_ppp_brutalistduo_vortex_avl  These veneer collages were made for installation at Black Mountain College for DoubleTake event in 2015.



Studio Practice: 

Gallery and Studio: London District Studios

Workshop: Aeolian Harp Research Station

Works for sale: FD Found Design, Horse+Hero, London District Studios
  More Images can be seen labeled with #postpianoproject on Instagram 



Gallery: Installation/Instruments

Art works of the Post Piano Project fall into 2 categories: Instrument/Installation pieces and Object d’art.  Sound-making site-specific Instrument/Installation pieces give voice to their installed environments and Art Objects are meditation on craft of listening.

At over 6oo lbs an instrument and 39 decommissioned, deconstructed pianos, we have made over 12 tons of art – –

Barbour refers to the Instrument/Installations are “Authorless Instruments” Often made from salvaged iron harps & soundboards and placed as site-specific installation art pieces in conceptually-interesting surroundings, these Authorless Instruments collect vibration and reflect sounds from materials re-imagined. The installed site-specific instruments are influenced by their environment sculpts experience and environment drawing the attention of listener to the spaces, silences, and sounds.   These pieces encourage musicians & non-musicians alike to partake in sound making with these familiar materials presented in unconventional format.



“Sympathetic Piano” – 2013 at

Lake Eden – Black Mountain College, reHappening

The piano can be seen as a ready laboratory for experiments in sound.  Use of a piano  in this landscape is of course a reference to John Cage and his short-stay at Black Mountain College.  Using feedback from the environment, The Sympathetic Piano was interactive sonic sculpture with tones from specially-tuned instrument bouncing off the glass-like surface of Lake Eden.Image of The Sympathetic Piano by Zach Brown from 2013 Black Mountain College ReHappening at Lake Eden

Image of The Sympathetic Piano as captured Zach Brown  at the 2013 Black Mountain College ReHappening at Lake Eden


For this project, a harp of decomissioned spinet piano was tuned to resonate frequency of Lake Eden by project-collaborator composer & mathematician Michael Luchtan.  With tones developed by mathematical formulation to work in harmony with landscape, this harp was available to be played by event attendees.



Special Thanks: Images of The Sympathetic Piano by Zach Brown (2013)



“The Sound/Round Room” (2014) – This piece was a site-specific Instrument/installation environment in stone room that had been John Cage’s studio while he was at Black Mountain College. Lasting only for evening of reHappening event in April 2014, we installed 3 modified harps made from decommissioned, deconstructed pianos.  Piece was played for hours by attendees.  Short pieces were organized at intervals with open-play-access in between those scheduled events.

With help of All-Star Creative Media, we made a short video that gives overview to the piece:


“Access” (2014) at Moogfest, an annual digital-music festival that was at that time hosted in downtown Asheville, we installed a horizontal-harp at the corner of Lexington and Hiawassee Streets for an evening’s event/performance. Over course of evening, the sounds that came form the open harp became more visceral and sounds through the night were haunting microphone to inner voices of the players.


“The Wind Rose” (2015):  Installed in yard adjoining the Bauhaus-era Gropius-Breuer Bauhaus building in former campus of Black Mountain College, “The Wind Rose” was first installed at the 2015 Black Mountain College ReHappening.  It is accessible instrument, playable by people, by wind. Collaboration with composers and instruments, we invited 8 esteemed composers to create works for the instrument we call the “Wind Rose”.Giving voice to the shape of the landscape, “The Windrose” allows for composer & player to share voice with the wind.

To play “The Wind Rose”, the controller piano sits on one end (with its recognizeable keyboard intact).  Interface of a piano connected thru with long filament lines attached to very high quality open harp of very high quality instrument (for this installation, it was harp of a beautiful 1890s Wissner.)

Foundation of “The Windrose” is based on Greek-insturment called the “Aeolian Harp” which is a 3rd century BC  Greek wind-landscape harp that picks up wind-based vibration of the wind and made a drone-type sound.  Composers (or not), Musician (or not), “The Windrose” is an adapation of this Greek instrument made into interactive installation piece playable by all.  Player sits at one side and receiver harp at the other with this wind tickling long horizontal strings that express combined sounds from all components.

The Aeolian harp would simply be a long string catching sound of the wind with movement reverberated against soundboard.  “The Wind Rose” is a new instrument because it has the player &receiver from 2 different sound makers being joined with sound made from vibration of the wind.


2016          #postpianoproject at London District Studios:  As part of my term as Resident Artist at London District Studios and as celebration of their grand-opening, we installed an open-harp from a very small formerly-player piano in the gallery at London District Studios.

and Objects d’art:






Resident artist at London District Studios: AVL, NC

Debut with Picture Source/Somerset

Artworks on display at Asheville Music School: AVL, NC

Artworks on display at Bari Salon: AVL, NC


Artworks on display at Vortex Doughnuts: AVL, NC


Artworks for sale at Horse+Hero: AVL, NC


“Wind Rose” installed at Black Mountain College – ReHappening: Lake Eden


“Sound/Round Room” installed at BMC+AC ReHappening: Lake Eden


“The Sympathetic Piano” installed at BMC+AC ReHappening: Lake Eden

Graduation: MA – Sustainable Development: Applachian State University


Started making #postpianoproject collages/assemblages


Scenic Design for Magnetic Theater: AVL


Completion of Painting: “Stars & Jar” – Visual meditation on Preservation


Internship: Archiving of works of photographer John Cohen for then-upcoming donation to the Library of Congress

2005 – 2009  

Lived in San Francisco: professional props-designer & set-dresser for theater, dance, & experimental performance.

House manager at Project Artaud Theater for 125+- productions


Employed by Anthropologie: Display Coordinator, Palo Alto


Graduation from Florida State University with BFA: Installation Art & traditional Printmaking

1999 – 2004    

Owner/manager of a co-operatively run Furniture Shop & Gallery: “The Funkshun Junkshun” in Art District: Tallahassee, FL

Press & Related Links


#PostPianoProject in the press: 

#postpianoproject in Bold Life Magazine – October 2016

#postpianoproject:  Kehren Barbour as featured artist for Arts & Music issue:  WNC Mag – July 2016

London District Studios: Art on London Rd

Theater Productions:


Special Thanks!

We are so grateful to the support of our community – – to art-interested neighbors and friends, to supportive art-buyers, and to AVL-area businesses that have helped this project develop!  Without you this project would not exist.

Piano Emporium – – With 2 locations, one on Hendersonville Rd and the other in Weaverville – – for materials in form  decommissioned antique pianos and their smart & skilled delivery-crew!

Bari Salon – – This beautiful and well-appointed salon is sanctuary for the senses. Thank you for sharing your walls with the art pieces from this project!

FD Found Design – – Intuitive Gallery and Studio showcases beautiful things in a creative oasis

Horse+Hero – – You’ve been supportive since the early days of the project.  We love you and what you do for the arts community in Asheville!

London District Studios – – Inspired and inspiring surroundings filled with art, objects, and furnishings for the home – – Thank you for opportunity to display works in your beautiful space!

Screen Door – – Near and dear to my heart, your creative space has a special kind of magic and we are honored to be part of your shop!

Vortex Doughnuts – – Thank you for reason to stop by and eat tasty things! Thank you for the space on your walls, for what you do, and sharing your space with artists and community of Asheville.



Other Ideas?

We are  always on look-out for places, spaces, events, and/or festivals that might make welcome place to display and sell works from this project  – – got any suggestions, please send a note my way:



Biography: Kehren Barbour

If we can agree that through depth and skill comes from knowledge & familiarity and through practice comes mastery.

We become what we do; I make art.

— Kehren Barbour, 2016


Kehren Barbour returned to Appalachia after working in Dance & Experimental Arts in the San Francisco Bay area to pursue graduate studies in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University. Born in West Virginia, she was interested in study of Sustainable Development from a place being dismantled by extractive industries.

With formal training and experience in the Fine and Theatrical Arts and Cross-Media Experimentation, Barbour uses object as medium to recreate a story and share an experience with audience. Current project is called the Post Piano Project and is study of methods of construction and deconstruction with creation of object d’art and instrument/installation pieces dedicated to craft of careful listening.

Design work in the Bay Area included work for:  the American Conservatory Theater, the Magic TheaterZ SpaceAshby Stageand for a number of artists on stage at Project Artaud Theater. Kehren designed set components for the Brooklyn Folk Fest in May 2012 and stage design for the Kronos Quartet’s Awakenings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in September 2011. Kehren has continued to design for stage, working for the Magnetic Theater in Asheville, NC.  

Kehren lives in Asheville with her husband and son. Art pieces from the Post Piano Project are available for purchase at a few shops in region, including: FD Found Design, Horse+Hero, and London District Studios.  

CV related to Arts available here.

Listing of Designs for theater available here.

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David ThoreauWalden: Or, Life in the Woods

Kehren Barbour graduated from Appalachian State University in Spring 2013 with a Master´s Degree in Sustainable Development and Appalachian Studies.   Making decision to move from San Francisco to attend this program after looking in to Sustainable Development programs across the American landscape, decision was fueled by  interest in impacts of Colonialism and Extractive Industry on Culture and Landscape.  
I am interested in mirrors of the internal landscape and how they reflect and reflect on their external landscapes.   I thinks that skills honed in tools of creative and collaborative arts are key to processing and responding to the complexities facing population on our overburdened planet.  I seek to teach in a program that celebrates topics of Sustainable Development with tools of the creative and collaborative arts in an interdisciplinary program. I sees theater and creative arts as tool to build contextual understanding, practice collaboration, and to develop the skills to communication complex ideas related to ethics, economy, and environment. – – Kehren Barbour when describing desire to teach in an Interdisclipinary Program discussing Environmental and Ethical Challenges using tools and lived experiences honed as Artist


Barbour teaches in ways that foster creativity and encourage understanding, interconnectivity, accountability and adaptability.  Inspired by words of Lawrence Cremin’s “Transformation of the School” and aided by experiences in theater and arts, she is interested in exploration of idea with outcome of evolved understanding.  Context being key to comprehension, creativity is excellent tool for comprehension complicated challenges of topics couched under heading “Sustainable Development.”

“. . . the arts have been an inseparable part of the human journey; indeed, we depend on the arts to carry us toward the fullness of our humanity. We value them for themselves, and because we do, we believe knowing and practicing them is fundamental to the healthy development of our children’s minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization – ours included – the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term ‘education.’ We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and skills in the arts.” 
– National Standards for Arts Education


“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.”  ― Aldo Leopold


I am interested in residencies & short-term projects that use creativity as tool to foster understanding concepts related to Sustainable Development and arts as tool to develop skills of observation and engagement in one’s environment.  I am dedicated to craft of careful listening.  I believe that the creative process fosters examination and appropriate response to the challenges facing us as a inhabitants on an overburdened planet. — Kehren Barbour when talking about shared experiences of Arts & Sustainable Development




Artworks are available for purchase online via:


Artworks from #postpianoproject are for sale in Asheville at:

Horse+Hero – 14 Patton Ave (downtown AVL)

FD Found Design – 122 Riverside Dr in Cotton Mill Studios (River Arts District)

London District Studios – 8 London Rd (Biltmore VIllage)

Other Materials from the decommissioned, deconstructed pianos are for sale at:

Booth #495 Screen Door (115 Fairview RD) – Harmony Piano & Salvage



Description: Post Piano Project


More Merz than Duchamp, the artworks in this series are made from decommissioned deconstructed instruments.  Picasso used guitars, pianos chose me. — Kehren Barbour



Who:  Kehren Barbour and the Aeolian Research Team.

Artworks are installed by the Aeolian Research Team.

What:  Deconstructed, Decommissioned pianos made into artworks.  Series called “Tone Poems” are painterly abstraction-assemblages.  Larger pieces of the pianos are made into Instrument/Site-specific Installation pieces.

When:  The #postpianoproject started in 2012.  38 pianos disassembled as of 2016, here goes…

Where:  Works are developed at the Aeolian Research Station which is located in the Hickory Nut Gap along windy (and windy) hwy 74 at 4413 Chimney Rock Highway, Gerton NC 27835.

Why:  Well, how long of an answer you got time for?  Curiousity.  Beauty.  Study of sustainable systems of art-making.  Elegant conversation on refuse.



For a little more background:

I am a painter and installation artist by training (BFA, Florida State University – 2003). Design work in San Francisco for Dance & Experiment Performance is sits between my bookends of educational experiences.  I earned a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University in 2013.


It started with infatuation with internal mechanics of the inside of the machine of the piano.Michael was learning piano as performance instrument and I was curious about the parts & pieces inside this veil of the piano’s brown rectangles.   There were a couple of questions I had about the piano – – How does this machine make sound? What is sound? How is such a complex sound made? There were more questions that followed and piano-tuning-friend and the internet helped build working understanding.  Along path, we were met with inpleasantly  answerable one: “Where do they go when they are past point of being a piano?”  That question project has made me more familiar with qualities of antique American piano manufacture than I could have imagined three years and (12-tons of art) ago.  Peak piano manufacture happened at the end of the 19th century, now a hundred-plus years later, they are headed to the dump. I think this project is prop to elegant conversation on beauty & materials.



I have been making art professionally for almost 20 years. early in art-school, I read quote by Elaine DeKooning quote: “Painting as verb and object as secondary.” Engaging of that space and community very important in my art making.

With MA in Sustainable Development, this project is systems-approach to art-making.  I am working with community members and supporters to develop art-project from reclaimed materials. With out community partners, this project wouldn’t be possible.  Community supporters include: The Piano Emporium, Horse+Hero, London District Studios, The Screen Door, and Vortex Doughnuts.  We have show works at regional festivals (the Big Crafty) and look forward to future exhibitions at shops and galleries as this project evolves.

Got Idea on venues, please send email to:



This project is driven by interest in accessible and beautiful experience of art as object and environment.

I’m interested in Earth driven-sound instruments –

Wave Organ (San Francisco)

Croatian Sea Organ

Seattle Sound Park




2016 – – “The Wind Rose” paintings by Leslie Rowland:  After seeing installation of “The Wind Rose” at 2015 Black Mountain College reHappening, Rowland asked to hear the recording for event.   Leslie completed a series of paintings based on the shapes of these recorded sound-waves.

As the wind picks up and it gets louder. Shape of the recorded sound is spiral – – Rowland´s pictues capture and highlight this helix shape.  End result is that the painted sound-wave catures visual shape of the wind.




This project is interested in the craft of listening, of hearing, of playing, of remembering, and of making.  The #postpianoproject had been built from parts and pieces culled from 39 pianos high-quality American-manufacture pianos.   This project has transformed over 20.000 pounds (or 12 tons) of materials into instrument/installation pieces and hundreds of assemblage pieces over the last 3 years by Kehren Barbour and her partner (mathmatician & composer) Michael Luchtan.

A Quick Answer: 11 tons of art and counting.  Instruments, Installation pieces, and Artworks made from materials harvested from over 38 decomissoned, deconstructed pianos.  Works for sale in Asheville at Horse+Hero & London District Studios.  Artwork on display at Vortex Doughnuts (AVL). Materials from project for sale at Asheville’s Screen Door.

A Really Short Answer: The Post Piano Project is a series of artworks and installation/instruments made from disassembled pianos.

A Longer Answer: 37 pianos, 20,000 pounds of materials headed to waste-stream made into audience-interactive installation instruments that have been installed at art-events. These experimental instrument/installations are funded through sale of artworks made from collaged elements from the disassembled pianos.

And an Even Longer Answer:

Kehren Barbour has a MA in Sustainable Development and Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University and BFA from Florida State University with specialization in Installation Art & traditional printmaking processes. Michael Luchtan is a composer with degrees in Mathematics and Critical Theory from University of Georgia (at Athens).

The #postpianoproject was begun in 2012.  Debut of first installation instrument was at 2012 Black Mountain College ReHappening. We brought a decommissioned Lester spinet piano to docks at Lake Eden with help of Adam Kowalski.  Called a “Sympathetic Piano” the open harp of the deconstructed piano was tuned to resonate frequencies of the landscape and played by event’s attendees. From there its been 2 more instrument installations at Black Mountain College events, a instrument at the 201x Moogfest in downtown Asheville, many experiments at the Aeolian Harp Research Station.  We’ve made many many artworks – – collage with antique sheet music and assemblage with harvested pieces from these magnificent instruments.

Want More?

Images of the project continue to be added. Here’s a link – – Please follow Kehren Barbour or #postpianoproject to stay up-to-date as project develops.  We email a newsletter 1-2 times a month, if you’d like to be added to this mailing list, please send a note to Kehren:


More: Post-Pianos as Story-teller

When I am sitting with empty piano, when I am taking its pieces out of the case, with pieces laid out on table – there are places piano repair technicians and piano manufacture staff leave notes for each other. Places where things are signed and notes left for one another.  Marks of hands – – players, tuners, manufactures – – when I cull materials from these instruments, I am privy of code of how these hands interacted with each other thru time and space.

I am taking apart something that has been touched for thousands of hours. Hands conjure ideas of class, access, craft, art as performance, art in rehearsal, and the art of care and careful listening. These instruments are synthesis of many things – craft & idea, observation & rehearsal, and applied craft of practice. They are marked object of the Maker and the Doer.  What remains from expression is object and I hope that my objects convey respect of creation rooted in works of the hand, heart, and head.

Even More:  Post-Piano as Mirror & Lens

I think Art as device for observation and interaction. I see art as tool for making changes in ones environment. Piano is junction of fine & folk, of art & craft, of instrument & song.  Music is a big part of my life – my love of music  frames and informs my art-pieces

The Piano has so many voices – – it exists in realm of the fine and the folk, that place of fusion where its tone is result of interpretation of person playing it.  I appreciate its versitility.  I strive for something similiar in my works.  I listen to tone and quality of materials of instrument as it is dismantled and re-made into works from this series.

I think it was Claude Debussy that said something about music being the space between the notes.  The pieces in the #postpianoproject are reflections of what I hear when I am in natural environment at my studio and alone with these beautiful materials.

“Environmental restoration may be the art form of the twenty-first century”—

from Helping Nature Heal (Ten Speed Press, 1991)



Current Project: #postpianoproject –

Interested in add’l information, to make a purchase, or inquire about a commission?

Please send a note our way with your contact information and we’ll get back to your promptly.