Monday, May 27, 2013


The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, located in Sheboygan Wisconsin, is perhaps more a source of support for the visual and performing arts than it is a dedicated art museum.  It does house a number contemporary art pieces, as well as maintain two outdoor sculpture gardens.   However, its real attractions are its public washrooms (as the facility refers to them).  That's right, washrooms.  Kohler, the name sponsor for the arts center, is associated with high end plumbing fixtures and the washrooms in the building do not disappoint.  In fact, they hold the only artwork in the building for which photography is allowed (provided no one else is using the washroom at the time).

I got to the Kohler Center shortly after it opened in the morning, and the receptionist, after explaining the center's policy on photography, escorted me to one of the women's washrooms.

Given the washroom's relatively tight quarters, a true wide-angle lens would have helped here, but I think you get the idea.  Here are a few close-ups of individual stalls.

It is apparent that the tiles in the washroom, though individually created, collectively create coherent murals.  Here is a shot of the wall opposite the sinks.

Many of the tiles have a bas relief quality.

And then it was on to the men's washroom--much more masculine but, like the women's, tastefully done.

The decor in this room was quite a bit darker and, because I didn't have the courage to ask to use my tripod for the occasion, light was a bit of an issue.

Here are a couple of the sinks.

And, of course, the urinals.

Bull's eye.

Here is a straight-on shot of some of the tile work . . .

including some detail.

Of these two washrooms, I preferred the women's (for the art, of course) because it had more of an airy feel.  The men's was a bit heavy, but amazing nevertheless.

The facility had three other washrooms--men's, women's, and family.

However, when I knocked on the women's it was occupied.  And the family washroom was nice but not as ornate as the two main washrooms.  I did get a few photos in the other men's washroom, but again it was not as interesting as the one off the main entrance.  Here is a shot of one of its urinals.

The Kohler Center building itself is nicely laid out.

Here is a shot of the entrance lobby shot from the inside.

The limited number of pieces of art, all contemporary, were interesting but a bit disappointing in terms of quantity.  The exterior sculpture garden was also just OK, as was an ancillary sculpture garden located a few miles to the south that had been donated to the center several years ago.

If you find yourself in Sheboygan the Kohler Center is worth the visit, if only for the washrooms.  Make sure you visit both men's and women's, if that can be arranged.


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