John Kearney is a Chicago sculptor who creates welded steel sculptures from steel automobile bumpers and in bronze. They are primarily animal and figurative forms and are both large and small scale. His works are in major museum and collections through USA, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Detroit Children's Museum, Ulrich Museum of Wichita State University, Wichita, the Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois State Capital Visitors Center, Springfield, Illinois, Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, the City of Chicago in Oz Park (the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scare Crow and Dorothy and Toto), the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Wisconsin, the Fayetteville Youth center, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Cape Cod, among others.
John Kearney was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924. He received his formal art training at famed Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michican after serving four years in he Navy during World War II in the South Pacific. He received an Italian Government Grant in 1963-64, through the University per Stranieri, Perugia, Italy, a Fulbright Award to Italy in 1963-64, and was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, in 1985, 1992, 1998, and 2003. He won the Wallace Truman Prize at the National Academy of Design in New York, in 1953 among other prizes. He has had numerous One Man exhibitions since 1951, in New York City at A.C.A. Gallery 1964 to 1979, and in 2003/04, the Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown, Mass., 1992 to 2005, and in Rome and Venice, Italy, Chicago, Detroit, Wichita, Wellfleet, Mass., and others. He had major retrospective at the Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon, Illinois in 1994. He has exhibited in Group curated exhibitions in Rome, New York, Santo Domingo, Niamey, Nigeria, Indianapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska, the Art Institute of Chicago, Taipei, Sarasota, Florida and others.
John Kearney was the co-founder of the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago in 1949. The Workshop was a highly regarded non-profit Chicago institution, exhibiting young emerging artists and providing affordable studio spaces for artists for 60 years. Hundreds of emerging artists had their first exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Workshop. He taught and lectured since 1950 and was the guiding spirit over all the years. The Workshop closed its unique operation in May 2009 with high praise from the art community and the public.
John Kearney lived in Rome for two years and traveled extensively in Europe. he has traveled to Egypt, the Middle East, China, Tibet, Southeast Asia and Central America. He lives in Chicago during winter and lives in Provincetown, Massachusettes from Mid-June to Mid-September.