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)