Glenn Kaino, Untitled (Reverse Inverse Ninja Law), 2006, Zapatista dolls, twine, fiberglass, 14' x 8' x 3', Photography by Pablo Mason, Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego © Glenn Kaino

Glenn Kaino


b. 1972, Los Angeles, California

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Glenn Kaino is known internationally for his expansive vision and activist-minded practice, which encompasses painting, sculpture, installation, performance, monumental public art, theatrical production, and feature film.

Examining a wide range of political, social, and environmental issues in his work, Kaino takes a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to art making. His work brings together systems of knowledge, forms of production, and people that do not normally have a chance to connect, and often involves long-term partnerships with a diverse array of visionary collaborators. Kaino’s work in any media and within any system is distinguished by his obsessive investment in technical virtuosity, functionality, and legitimacy.

The artist’s practice, which has focused on equity, social justice, and climate change, among other urgent topics, traces through lines among various art historical movements, including Arte Povera, Conceptualism, and performance art. A relentless optimist, Kaino creates work that is imbued with hope, revealing structures of power and domination and creating opportunities for direct action and progress, all rooted in the belief that cultural production can affect real change. Kaino often highlights the illusionistic and mesmeric effects of scientific and natural phenomena in his large-scale installations to explore notions of empathy and subjectivity and to bring legibility to the often-invisible forces that shape our world.

Intensely active in the fields of media and technology, Kaino’s recent major projects include In & Of Itself, the critically acclaimed off-Broadway show that resulted from his decade-long performance art collaboration A.Bandit with celebrated writer and performer Derek DelGaudio, which culminated in a feature-length film on Hulu produced by Kaino; and the critically acclaimed feature-length documentary With Drawn Arms, a film co-directed by Kaino that traces the significance of long-time collaborator Tommie Smith’s historic salute for human rights at the 1968 Olympic Games and its resonance for generations of activists and athletes. In 2016 Kaino began VISIBILITY, a long-term collaboration with actor and activist Jesse Williams that creates anti-colonial interventions in the larger technology and media landscape through award-winning mobile apps, shows, films, and other forms of cultural production.

The artist co-founded the seminal Los Angeles artist-run space Deep River in 1997, was a founding board member of the arts nonprofit LAXART in 2005, and has since played a critical role in the establishment and development of similar organizations in the city. In 2014, he co-founded the Mistake Room, which stages exhibitions, talks, screenings, performances, and other programming. Kaino is also a co-founder of Active Cultures, the first cultural organization dedicated to the intersections of art and food.

Kaino received the two largest public art grants in the history of Los Angeles for commissions at the city’s 6th Street Viaduct and MTA LAX Metro Connector, which will be unveiled in 2024 and 2025, respectively. He is currently working on a new large-scale artwork with the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, for exhibition in late 2022.

Kaino’s work was featured in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, New York; Prospect.3, New Orleans, in 2014; and the 12th Biennale de Lyon, France, in 2013. The artist represented the U.S. at the 13th Cairo Biennale in 2013. He figured in the 2021 group exhibition Stories of Resistance at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and will be included in the forthcoming Québec City Biennial. Kaino has presented solo exhibitions at MASSMoCA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; San José Museum of Art, California; the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; and elsewhere. The artist’s works are part of the collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and other institutions.


Glenn Kaino, Bridge, 2013-14, Fiberglass, steel, wire, gold paint, 100' x 35' x 6', Photography by Glenn Kaino Studio © Glenn Kaino


Glenn Kaino, One Crisis at a Time (Ours To Eat, Brotherhood), 2020, Acrylic, burnt wood on panel, 37" x 49" x 3", Photography by Joshua White © Glenn Kaino


Glenn Kaino, Wish, 2020, Acrylic, water, dinoflagellates, lights, dimensions variable, Photography by Joshua White © Glenn Kaino


Glenn Kaino, Tank, 2014, Live corals, resin, acrylic tanks, wood, various life support systems, dimensions variable, Photography by Joseph Rynkiewicz © Glenn Kaino

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Glenn Kaino, Colonial Division Stage 3, The Troubles Within, 2019, Gold plated model parts, amber, insect pins, and high density urethane, 90" x 50" x 4.5", Photography by John Davis © Glenn Kaino


Glenn Kaino, Spontaneous Combustion (2:22:51), 2017, Cotton, tarring solution, time, 41" x 68", Photography by John Davis © Glenn Kaino


Glenn Kaino, In the Light of a Shadow, 2021, installation view, Photography by Tony Luong © Glenn Kaino