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WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY SCULPTURE TOUR

Grandfather's Horse

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Grandfathers HorseArtist - John Kearney
Born - 1924
Origin - America
Year Built - 1973

About the Artist:  After serving in the United States Navy 1941-45, John Kearney enrolled at the Cranbrook Academy under Carl Milles from 1945-48. Two years later, he co-founded the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago. Kearney's career began to achieve some notoriety by the 1960s, and he received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1963 to study bronze casting in Rome.

Despite his training in bronze casting, Kearney, like many sculptors of the 1960s, found welded steel appealing.33 The artist frequented salvage yards, and on one occasion he returned with an armful of automobile bumpers. Throwing them to the ground, he noticed that the bumpers had fallen into a shape that vaguely resembled a female dancer. Kearney constructed his first bumper sculpture, developing an oeuvre for which he is still known.

Grandfather's Horse, 1973, is characteristic of Kearney's animal forms. Grandfather's Horse was inspired literally by his grandfather's horse and stands as a tribute to his grandfather, one of the founders of Coffeyville, Kansas. Kearney finds the notion of constructing a horse from bumpers particularly ironic, since the car put horse out of business as a mode of human transportation.