news release Akron Art Museum Presents the Monumental, Awe-Inspiring Works of Renowned Ceramic Artist in Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines
For Release: January 23, 2018
Akron, Ohio—Groundbreaking works of art by renowned ceramic artist Jun Kaneko will alter the visual landscape of the Akron Art Museum’s galleries and its Bud and Susie Rogers Garden, inspiring awe in visitors of all ages this winter and spring. Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines presents a dramatic array of Kaneko’s monumental works uniquely selected by the museum’s John S. Knight Director and CEO Mark Masuoka. Highlighting transformational moments throughout Kaneko’s five-decade career, the exhibition includes several large-scale ceramic sculptures, drawings, paintings and a site-specific installation of his 65-foot-long painting, Mirage. Blurred Lines also represents the first Akron Art Museum exhibition curated by Masuoka, who drew on a nearly 35-year relationship with the artist to create the exhibition. The exhibition opens with a celebration on Friday, February 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. and will be on view through June 3, 2018.
“Blurred Lines opens a new chapter for the museum by shining a spotlight on an artist who has transformed ceramics into a contemporary art form. Kaneko has always been a rebel and pushed the limits. I am honored to have the opportunity to curate an exhibition that intersects with my own life and to share my connection to Jun as my mentor and friend.” Masuoka said.
The artist’s large ceramic sculptures are feats of innovative engineering in and of themselves, often exceeding seven feet in height, and weighing thousands of pounds. Blurred Lines features work from Kaneko’s studio and his own private collection. The exhibition highlights his ability to create monumental monochromatic sculptures that define space and volume and create an experiential journey. Masuoka said he chose the works for Blurred Lines “for their powerful, yet contemplative presence.”
Informed by early experiences in a Zen Garden at Ryōan-ji, Kaneko’s work contains references to rhythm and pattern and sound and silence. His artworks are often covered with stripes, simple geometric shapes, and spirals and dots, suggesting themes of light and darkness, mass and space, past and present and a melding of Eastern and Western sensibilities. Kaneko’s restless creativity is driven by a dedication to exploration, play and experimentation.
“Blurred Lines reveals the divergent and ever-changing processes behind several complex bodies of Kaneko’s work,” Masuoka said.
Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942 and studied painting in his adolescence. He studied ceramics with trailblazing artist Peter Voulkos in California in the 1960s and has taught at Scripps College, Rhode Island School of Design and the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His artwork has been included in more than seventy museum collections, and he has completed over sixty public art commissions around the world. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London. Since the early 2000s, he has designed sets and costumes for three operas, including Madame Butterfly, which was presented by the San Francisco Opera and the Washington National Opera in 2016-17.
Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines opens with a celebration on Friday, February 16, 2018, from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. and includes a members-only preview at 6:30 P.M. where any of the Akron Art Museum’s 11,000+ members can be among the first to experience the exhibition.
The museum plans engaging programs to promote a deeper understanding of Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines, including an improv workshop with Wandering Aesthetics on March 15 at 6:30 P.M., a Dumpling Demonstration with Ice or Rice on April 15 at 2:00 P.M., a Virtual Reality Pottery Demonstration with New Territory VR Arcade on May 3 at 6:30 P.M. and three gallery talks led by Executive Director and exhibition curator, Mark Masuoka. The gallery talks focus on different aspects of Kaneko’s work and process:
- March 17 • 2:00 P.M. Process: Big is Better
- April 14 • 2:00 P.M. Form: The Space in Between
- May 12 • 2:00 P.M. Ideas: A Space for Your Mind
Additional programs and activities, as well as details and registration information will be made available online at AkronArtMuseum.org.
Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funds from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsorship by ideastream®.
For more information about Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines at the Akron Art Museum, visit AkronArtMuseum.org. Join the conversation on social media with #KanekoAkron, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.