KC Chiefs Unveil Jun Kaneko Sculpture for Arrowhead Art Collection

On April 25, Arrowhead Art Collection Chairwoman Sharron Hunt was on hand as the first outdoor sculpture, a work by noted artist Jun Kaneko, was installed outside of Gate F at Arrowhead Stadium.

The 17th piece of the Arrowhead Art Collection to be installed at the stadium, it becomes the 22nd piece to be acquired for the collection. It becomes the first free-standing sculpture to be introduced to the program. The sculpture is unique in that it is the first piece to be installed outside the stadium, allowing visitors to the stadium the opportunity to see the work without having to be inside Arrowhead.

“Jun Kaneko is an extremely well-respected artist throughout the arts community, both in this country and throughout the world,” Hunt said. “Having this sculpture by Jun as a foundation piece for the Arrowhead Art Collection is truly an exciting acquisition for our program, and will allow numerous people to enjoy his unique style of modern art in Kansas City without even having to set foot inside Arrowhead Stadium.

Hand built from more than 3,000 pounds of wet clay, the sculpture is in the form of an abstract head and took almost one year to dry. It was fired in a large kiln at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and stands at more than eight feet tall. Called vitrified ceramics, this is an ancient material and method that can withstand the test of time. Archaeologists have found pottery of this kind that is in excess of 20,000 years old. The title of the piece, Horizon, was developed from the thought that nothing exists alone – everything is in balance or contrast with one another and space.

“I work with the abstract head because I want everyone to find their own interpretation of the artwork,” Kaneko said. “It is a universal image which all viewers can relate to regardless of age, nationality or language. The lack of features allows the viewer to develop their own experience of ideas with the artwork. I glazed this head with warm primary colors to express perseverance, the curved line of turquoise for understanding, the black and white pattern for calm and the yellow circle for focus, all together to create visual balance.”

Based in Omaha, Neb., Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942 and during his adolescence, he studied painting with Satoshi Ogawa before coming to the United States in 1963. Kaneko continued his art education by studying at the Chouinard Institute of Art where he learned sculptural ceramics during the time now defined as “The Contemporary Ceramics Movement in America.” He went on to teach at some of the nation’s leading art schools, including Scripps College, Rhode Island School of Design and Cranbrook Academy of Art. His artwork is included in more than 70 museum collections as well as on display in more than 30 public art commissions throughout the United States and Japan.

The Arrowhead Art Collection, announced by the Hunt family and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, is designed to celebrate regional art while promoting culture, providing educational opportunities and engaging the community in a way that touches individuals of all ages and walks of life.

Kellie Houx

Kellie Houx is a writer and photographer. A graduate of Park University, she has 20 years of experience as a journalist. As a writer, wife and mom, she values education, arts, family and togetherness.

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