2013; Painted Bronze and Stainless Steel; Sculpture
North Campus; In front (west side) of Earl V. Moore Building
Gift of Clarence L. (’51) and Ruth M. Roy. The Heads, single and pairs, smooth and rounded with flat, impassive features, or sometimes without any features at all, came after the Dangos (rounded forms or dumplings in Japanese) and were followed by the Tanukis (a creature found in mythology and nature as a small, nocturnal mammal native to East Asia, also called the raccoon dog). Artist Jun Kaneko began the Heads in the late 1990s and over the years he has increased the size and also had them cast in bronze. He brought his painting skills to his ceramic and bronze works by using Japanese brushes to apply the abstract designs freehand with neutral colorless glazes whose colors emerge after they have been fired. Kaneko melds Japanese aesthetics with American monumental scale and abstraction to achieve his unique works. The critic Arthur Danto has compared the results to colorful kimonos on sumo wrestlers: joyful patterns lightening hulking forms. Having come to the U.S. and California in the 1960s and working with ceramics masters, Kaneko became a part of what later came to be known as the Contemporary Ceramics Movement. His technical skills and a tendency to push artistic boundaries have led him to extraordinary accomplishments in public art, set and costume design, and architectural projects. Since 1986, Jun Kaneko has resided and worked in Omaha, Nebraska.