Jun Kaneko

The Space Between

An artist’s intimate relationship with his preferred medium: with his ceramics, Jun Kaneko tries the limits



Glen R. Brown

1st edition

, 2020

Text in English


264 pages, 209 color and 15 bw illustrations

24 x 30 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-865-2


Jun Kaneko, born in 1942 in Nagoya, Japan, and based in Omaha, Nebraska, since 1986, is revered for his role in establishing modern ceramic art, yet he has been equally prolific in a range of other media. This book offers an entirely new and detailed survey and analysis of nearly six decades of Kaneko’s work in ceramics, drawing, painting, installation art, and opera design. Tracing the career of this dynamic artist from his early training and subsequent association with the pivotal California Clay Movement to his important public commissions and philanthropic concerns of the present, it focuses in particular on the past twenty years, which have previously not been the subject of a comprehensive volume.
Drawing extensively on interviews he has conducted with Jun Kaneko since 2002, Glen R. Brown reflects on the principal concepts that have shaped Kaneko’s art, situating them in the space between a Japanese Shinto ethos and the aesthetic tenets of Western art informel and Post-Painterly Abstraction. These concepts provide context for in-depth discussion of Kaneko’s art, from the colossal glazed-ceramic Dangos to the sensitive coloristic stage and costume designs for Madama Butterfly, The Magic Flute, and Fidelio. From these, a fascinating picture emerges of Kaneko’s unique, relentlessly self-sustaining creative process and the multiple conceptions of space that inform it. Featuring two hundred color illustrations and substantial information not previously available in published form, this book offers an up-to-date definitive critical survey of this important artist’s life and work.


Glen R. Brown is professor of twentieth-century and contemporary art history, theory, and criticism at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

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Glazed ceramic Heads and Dango after final firing at Mission Clay Products, Pittsburg, KS, USA, 2007. © Jun Kaneko. Photo: Takashi Hatakeyama

Mission Clay Pittsburg Project: 2004–2007. The artist glazing a sculpture at Mission Clay Products in Pittsburg, KS, USA, 2007. © Jun Kaneko. Photo: Takashi Hatakeyama

Ascent and Tower Square plaza, 2014. Brick plaza with glass tower, glazed ceramic tile wall, and multicolor metal structure, Lincoln, NE, USA. Commissioned by the City of Lincoln. © Jun Kaneko. Photo courtesy Jun Kaneko Studio

Untitled, 1984. Solid glazed ceramics, 8 × 48 × 96 inches, approx. 2,000 lbs. Created at Omaha Brickworks. Collection of the artist. © Jun Kaneko. Photo: Misha Gordin

Mirage and an untitled sculpture in the artist’s studio, 2016. © Jun Kaneko. Photo: Takashi Hatakeyama

Exhibition detail view showing hand-built and glazed ceramic sculptures and epoxy paint on floor. Gallery Takagi, Nagoya, Japan, 1991. © Jun Kaneko. Photo courtesy Jun Kaneko Studio

Untitled, 1965. Hand-built and glazed ceramics, 22.5 × 22 × 8 inches. Collection of the Ree & Jun Kaneko Foundation, Omaha, NE, USA. © Jun Kaneko. Photo: Dirk Bakker

The artist seated on the floor among scattered papers during Mori’s Form Gallery exhibition, Osaka, Japan, 1971. © Photo courtesy Jun Kaneko

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