Early life, education and artistic training
Kaino grew up in Cerritos and East Los Angeles; he is fourth-generation Japanese-American. He attended UC Irvine and received a BA in 1993 after which he attended UC San Diego where he completed an MFA in 1997.
Trained as a sculptor, Kaino came of age in the late 1980s – early 1990s, at the height of the culture wars. Working closely with teachers and mentors who at the time were engaged in a critically important reevaluation about the role of identity and politics in contemporary art, Kaino emerged as a member of the first generation of artists of color in the U.S. to begin to consider the ways through which contemporary art could be responsive to the conceptual turn while remaining faithful to the political project of artists and activists of prior decades.
Developing his practice at the height of the Internet boom, Kaino began to explore ideas of systems as a way to bring distinct wisdoms and knowledge forms into the language of contemporary art. Informed by the process of kit-bashing, akin to a model-maker's process of reassembling standard models and structures into new and innovative forms, Kaino began to approach his sculptural process as a form of conceptual kit-bashing—appropriating the languages, logics, production processes, and value systems of various fields of study to apply them to his artistic process as a way to consolidate improbable materials.
In & Of Itself
Kaino and writer, performer, magician Derek DelGaudio created the record-breaking one-man live show, In & Of Itself. The show explores “the illusory nature of identity; how we rely on labels and definitions to identify one another; and how, paradoxically and inevitably, those labels obscure who we really are.” Kaino, DelGaudio and Stephen Colbert produced the film version, which was directed by Frank Oz and premiered to critical acclaim on Hulu in January 2021. The film premiered at the 2020 SXSW Festival, where it won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award for pioneering filmmaking.
Kaino's most well-known works include Desktop Operations, a large-scale sand castle structure he debuted at the 2004 Whitney Biennial; In Revolution, a kinetic sculptural illusion encompassing a rapidly spinning Aeron chair that unveils the image of a chalice as it rotates inside its incubator; Untitled (Reverse Inverse Ninja Law), a large-scale levitating hammer sculpture made from thousands of small Zapatista dolls made through a collaboration with Zapatista activists in Chiapas; The Burning Boards, a sculptural moment first shown at the Whitney Museum at Altria that encompasses a chess tournament played with burning candles; Safe, a sculpture made from amassed secrets[clarification needed] that visualizes secrecy in material form; Arch, a large-scale sculpture commissioned by the City of Pittsburgh and the Heinz Endowment; and In Every Grain, a sculptural environment in which he used air and sand to construct an ephemeral and temporary city-like sculpture for the US Pavilion at the 13th International Cairo Biennale in 2013, where he represented the US.
Kaino's work has been exhibited internationally and is included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), Newport Beach, California; the Museum Folkwang Essen; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City.
Influences and collaborations
In addition to his studio practice, Kaino has collaborated with a wide range of organizations and companies on creative projects. An expansion of his ongoing interest in finding platforms in which art and creativity expand beyond the boundaries of the cultural institution, Kaino has worked with Universal Music Group on Farmclub.com and Napster 2.0.
Kaino has also helped create various experimental venues to support the work of other artists. Working with collaborators Daniel Joseph Martinez, Rolo Castillo, and Tracey Shiffman, Kaino co-founded the seminal artist-run gallery Deep River in Los Angeles in 1997. Throughout its five years of existence, it was a beacon for artists and experimental practices in Los Angeles. Kaino was also a founding board member of LA><ART and more recently he created the performance art duo A.Bandit with magician Derek DelGaudio.
- The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
- The Project, NYC
- Rosamund Felsen Gallery, CA
- Honor Fraser Gallery, CA
- The Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York City
- The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA
- Performa09 (in collaboration with Creative Time), New York City
- REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA
- LA><ART, Los Angeles
- Levitating The Fair (The Flying Merchant Ship) for Art Public, Art Basel Miami Beach
- Experiments from The [Space] Between at The Kitchen, New York City
- Hollow Earth, Desert X, Coachella Valley
- “With Drawn Arms” at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Georgia
- "With Drawn Arms" at the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California
- In the Light of a Shadow at Mass MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts
Awards and nominations
- California Community Foundation (CCF) Grant
- Smithsonian American Art Museum Nominee for Contemporary Artist Award, 2012
- Represented the US at the 13th annual Cairo Biennale, which ran from December 2012 to February 2013.
- LaBelle, Charles. "GLENN KAINO: Fish Out of Water". Charles Labelle | Selected Criticism. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
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- Schneider, Michael (May 21, 2021). "Derek DelGaudio's Hulu Special 'In & Of Itself' to Get a Week-Long Theatrical Run in New York (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
- "The Magic In Derek DelGaudio's 'In & Of Itself,' Explained". Bustle. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
- "'In & Of Itself' Is A Study Of Identity And Magic". NPR.org. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
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- Plagens, Peter (March 21, 2004). "Art's Star Search." Newsweek.
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- UC Irvine Studio Art Department (May 15, 2012) Glenn Kaino to Represent the US at the Cairo Biennale
- Hammer Museum. Glenn Kaino
- Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Glenn Kaino: (Untitled) Reverse Inverse Ninja Law
- "Napster Appoints Music Industry Veteran to Lead Artist and Label Relations". PR Newswire (March 23, 2004). Retrieved February 28, 2013.
- Yun, Michelle (2011). "Kaino, Glenn Akira" in The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, Vol. 1, pp. 8–9. Oxford University Press
- "Founder's Board". LAXART. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
- Calendar, The Kitchen. A.Bandit: Experiments from The (Space) Between featuring Glenn Kaino and Derek DelGaudio Archived January 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "Glenn Kaino in the Light of a Shadow | MASS MoCA". August 11, 2020.
- California Community Foundation. About The Fellowships for Visual Artists Archived February 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- Newsdesk, Smithsonian Institution (August 6, 2012). "Smithsonian American Art Museum Announces Artists Nominated for its Contemporary Artist Award"
- PR Newswire (February 28, 2012). "Glenn Kaino to Represent the U.S. at the 13th International Cairo Biennale Slated for December 2012". Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Price, Nina. "2013 Looks Bright for LA-Based Power Duo". Los Angeles Confidential
- Biography of Glenn Kaino on the Creative Exchange Agency website
- Glenn Kaino on the Andy Warhol Museum website
- Stacy, Greg (14 February 2008). "Karen Finley, Glenn Kaino, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Martin Kersels at OCMA's 'Disorderly Conduct'". OC Weekly