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Jun Kaneko

Japanese, born 1942

Jun Kaneko inspecting his work at Mission Clay Products in Fremont, California. Image courtesy of the artist.

Best known for his innovations in large-scale ceramic sculpture, Jun Kaneko is considered one of the preeminent ceramic artists working today. After studying painting in Japan through the late 1950s and early 1960s, Kaneko moved to the United States in 1963. There, he connected with and eventually became part of an emerging group of avant-garde ceramic artists—including Michael Frimkess, Ken Price, Jerry Rothman, Paul Soldner, Henry Takemoto, and Peter Voulkos—based largely in California. 

Over the course of the 1980s and early 90s, Kaneko began experimenting with creating increasingly large-scale ceramics using out-of-service industrial beehive kilns, eventually hitting on the signature form of his monumental Dango sculptures. In 1984, the artist received his first public commission, and in the subsequent decades he has staged large-scale sculptural installations at the Honolulu Museum of Art, New York City’s Park Avenue malls, Millennium Park in Chicago, and in 2020, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House in Buffalo.