The Futuristic Art Of the 1900’s: John Kearney’s Chrome Bumper Horses

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Just about everyone has heard or seen of the amazing, recycled metal sculptures of horses and other animals that have taken over the internet. Whether it be John Lopez’s life size realistic recycled metal horses, or the Cyber Horse made out of hundreds of computer parts in Israel, most people think that this is a newer art medium. But alas, making sculptures from recycled parts have been around for nearly a century, if not longer. John Kearney, a USA Sailor in World War II, learned his welding skills–that would later make hi a successful artist– from repairing underwater  naval vessels during
the war.
John Kearney
August 31, 1924 – August 10, 2014
Location: Born In: Omaha, Nebraska. Died In: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Kearney served in the South Pacific during World War II. After he returned from the Navy, he went on to study at the famed Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He lived abroad in Italy and extensively travelled the Middle East and other countries. He had many solo and group exhibits in America and Italy.
In 1949, John Kearney was the co-founder of the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago. A highly regarded workshop for young and emerging artists, the Workshop helped in providing affordable studio spaces for artists for 60 years. Hundreds of emerging artists had their first exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Workshop. Kearney taught and lectured many artists at the Workshop since 1950. The Workshop closed in May 2009 with high praise from the art community and the public.

John Kearney created horses and other figures by welding portions of chrome bumpers together, creating futuristic sculptures in both small and large forms. He had many private collectors and his work is held by several national museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Ulrich Museum of Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas and the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois and more.
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