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Leo Amino - Artists - Tina Kim Gallery


Leo Amino was born in 1911 in the then-Japanese colony of Taiwan, before moving to Tokyo at a young age. Immigrating to the US in 1929 as a 17 year old, he attended San Mateo Junior College in California before crossing the country to New York, where he briefly attended New York University. Amino eventually studied direct carving with Chaim Gross at the American Artist’s School in 1937, stepping onto a national artistic stage through his inclusion alongside Isamu Noguchi at the 1939 World Fair in New York. 1939 also marked the first hostilities of World War II, during which Amino was made to work as a translator for the US Navy, beginning his first forays into plastics shortly after the military declassified polyester resin. Their transparent, malleable qualities inspired his forays into acrylic sculpture, making him one of the earliest artists in the US to work with plastics, a practice he continued through the rest of his life. 
Invited to teach at Black Mountain College by Josef Albers for two summers in 1946 and 1950, Amino flourished as an educator and artist. He was included 13 times over 15 years in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual exhibition from 1947 - 1962, and was featured in the decade defining 1950 Carvers-Modelers-Welders at The Museum of Modern Art, as well as the 1951 American Sculpture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Amino went on to teach at the Cooper Union from 1952 to 1977, mentoring generations of artists, including Jack Whitten. He passed away in 1989.

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