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Art & Soul

BY Nora Burba Trulsson and Taylor Transtrum | November 27, 2017 | Feature Features National

From sculptural pieces and paintings to large-scale installations and murals, these Valley creatives have mastered the art of surprise.
Jun Kaneko, “Dango” (2012, glazed ceramic)

Renowned artist Jun Kaneko will debut his work in the Valley at Desert Botanical Garden.

A crane, a forklift and a lot of breath-holding were involved in the installation of artist Jun Kaneko’s monumental ceramic and bronze sculptures at the Desert Botanical Garden (admission from $79). “The pieces weigh up to 1,600 pounds each and stand up to 13 feet tall,” says Elaine McGinn, the garden’s director of planning and exhibits. “We went to great lengths to make sure they were installed securely.”

McGinn first contacted Kaneko after seeing his pieces at Chicago’s Millennium Park. The artist, it turns out, was more than happy to have his work exhibited in Phoenix, as he and his wife had visited the garden several times.

The 20 pieces at the garden by the Japan-born and Omaha-based sculptor include “dangos,” or rounded forms painted with geometric themes; colorful “tanukis,” mythical ‘raccoon dogs’ found in Japanese folklore; and enigmatic heads. They’re on display through May 13 as part of the garden’s ongoing fine-art series and located in strategic spots along the main loop trail, as well as in the wildflower garden. “The tanukis are in a circle, with plenty of space to pose next to them,” says McGinn, anticipating selfie-takers and Instagrammers.

Photography Courtesy Of: