Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

Think Tank


Think Tank is a room sized installation designed as a “vehicle” to share the experiences of those who have served in the military. The tank itself is a quarter scale model of an M1 tank made of paper-backed acid free foam core, which is screwed and bolted together.   We have gathered stories from soldiers and their family and friends and transcribed them into text and cartoons, which sprawl across the surface of the tank.  Delivering the content in this way makes the stories more relatable while honoring the experiences of these superheroes.

The most challenging aspect of creating the piece was collecting the personal stories.  Military stories are often sensitive and private, so they are often difficult for individuals to share.  There is also the challenge of representing others’ stories through our imaginations, interpreting and envisioning the experiences.  We are appreciative that so many trusted us and shared their lives with us, not knowing exactly what we would do with their accounts.

Two memorable stories are related to preparations for chemical warfare: A soldier in Iraq who was so starved for fresh food that he shoved a sandwich into his gas mask before he ran for the bunker. His comrades were terrified because he seemed unresponsive during the attack, but he was actually feasting.  Another drawing tells of a soldier who accidentally tore her chemical weapons suit and was pacified by a Master gunnery sergeant who told her that he was repairing it with a “special tape.” This, of course, was later revealed to be duct tape.

We intentionally left space on the tank for additional stories, so as the work moves from location to location, it will change and grow. Many of our artworks are participatory, and we relish the unanticipated results. Think Tank is a celebration of dialog and creates an event that encourages a vast, diverse group to communicate their motivations, fears and dreams.

The tank itself is housed within a “war room.” We received permission from a colonel at the National Guard Armory to ink the treads from a World War II-era Sherman tank and create prints from the tracks. The perimeter of the room displays the tank tread prints, a letter formally granting us permission to use the tank to create our piece, as well as a large schematic drawing illustrating the assembly of our paper tank.  Soldiers have also donated their combat boots from both the Vietnam and Iraq wars as part of the installation.

Shipping Info: The tank can be shipped flat as a 48” x 96” bundle of foam core to be assembled on site.  When reassembled, the tank dimensions are approx:  43”x48”x108”





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