Two Deer, The Fawn, 1970s
Near Aon Center
200 East Randolph Street
Animals from sculptor John Kearney’s “bumper zoo” may be found all over the city of Chicago. Crafted from steel automobile bumpers, Kearney (b. 1924) began working with automobile parts in the mid-1960s and by 1969 had developed an approach in which he welded the ends of unused but outdated bumpers into remarkable depictions of animals, including camels, horses, goats, bison, giraffes, deer, frogs and an elephant created for Lincoln Park Zoo. The two deer and fawn in this installation seem to graze naturally amongst the trees and plants and the surrounding greenery adds an element of color to the metal in sunlight.
Kearney was born in Omaha, Nebraska and received his art training at Cranbrook Academy in Michigan. In addition to delighting viewers of all ages with his whimsical creatures, Kearney has been an active teacher and mentor to young artists who sought instruction as well as studio and exhibition space at his Contemporary Art Workshop, a non-profit institution that he co-founded with his wife Lynn in 1949. The workshop closed in 2009 when the Kearneys decided to retire.