Glenn Kaino

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Glenn Akira Kaino (born 1972 in Los Angeles) is an American conceptual artist based in Los Angeles.

Early life, education and artistic training[edit]

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.[1]

Early career[edit]

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.[2]

In & Of Itself[edit]

Kaino and writer, performer, magician Derek DelGaudio created the record-breaking one-man live show, In & Of Itself.[3] 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.”[4] 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.[5] The film premiered at the 2020 SXSW Festival, where it won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award for pioneering filmmaking.[6]  


Kaino's work ranges across a wide range of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, video, and performance.

Kaino's most well-known works include Desktop Operations, a large-scale sand castle structure he debuted at the 2004 Whitney Biennial;[7] 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;[8] 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;[9] 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;[10] Arch, a large-scale sculpture commissioned by the City of Pittsburgh and the Heinz Endowment;[11] 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.[12]

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;[13] the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego;[14] 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[edit]

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 and Napster 2.0.[15]

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.[16] 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[17] and more recently he created the performance art duo A.Bandit with magician Derek DelGaudio.[18]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Glenn Kaino is married to fashion designer Corey Lynn Calter. They live in Los Angeles with their two daughters, Stella and Sadie, along with their dog, Gilbert.[23]


  1. ^ LaBelle, Charles. "GLENN KAINO: Fish Out of Water". Charles Labelle | Selected Criticism. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Berardini, Andrew. "Fall Art Preview". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "The Magic In Derek DelGaudio's 'In & Of Itself,' Explained". Bustle. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  5. ^ "'In & Of Itself' Is A Study Of Identity And Magic". Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 24, 2020). "SXSW Film Festival Unveils Award Winners For Canceled 2020 Edition". Deadline. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Plagens, Peter (March 21, 2004). "Art's Star Search." Newsweek.
  8. ^ Stacy, Greg (February 14, 2008). "Karen Finley, Glenn Kaino, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Martin Kersels at OCMA's 'Disorderly Conduct'." Orange County Weekly
  9. ^ Firstenberg, Lauri (2006). "Ninjas and Pirates, Revolution and Romanticism: Lauri Firstenberg in Conversation with Glenn Kaino" Archived November 13, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Art Papers, November/December 2006 issue. Retrieved February 25, 2013
  10. ^ Finkel, Jori (September 23, 2010). "Glenn Kaino turns magic into art." Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Thomas, Mary (July 16, 2008). "L.A. artist's work transforms at Warhol Museum". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  12. ^ UC Irvine Studio Art Department (May 15, 2012) Glenn Kaino to Represent the US at the Cairo Biennale
  13. ^ Hammer Museum. Glenn Kaino
  14. ^ Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Glenn Kaino: (Untitled) Reverse Inverse Ninja Law
  15. ^ "Napster Appoints Music Industry Veteran to Lead Artist and Label Relations". PR Newswire (March 23, 2004). Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Yun, Michelle (2011). "Kaino, Glenn Akira" in The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, Vol. 1, pp. 8–9. Oxford University Press
  17. ^ "Founder's Board". LAXART. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  18. ^ Calendar, The Kitchen. A.Bandit: Experiments from The (Space) Between featuring Glenn Kaino and Derek DelGaudio Archived January 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Glenn Kaino in the Light of a Shadow | MASS MoCA". August 11, 2020.
  20. ^ California Community Foundation. About The Fellowships for Visual Artists Archived February 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Newsdesk, Smithsonian Institution (August 6, 2012). "Smithsonian American Art Museum Announces Artists Nominated for its Contemporary Artist Award"
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Price, Nina. "2013 Looks Bright for LA-Based Power Duo". Los Angeles Confidential

External links[edit]