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Jun Kaneko: In the Round

Page history last edited by Joyce Weaver 9 years, 4 months ago

10 December 2011 - 28 April 2012

Mint Museum Uptown: 

Atrium and Culbertson Learning Center


The Mint Museum, in collaboration with Jun Kaneko Studio, will hold a spotlight exhibition featuring a selection of Kaneko's signature Dango sculptures, artwork and framed drawings of costume designs for Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Mozart's The Magic Flute.  The exhibition will complement and run concurrently with these magnificent productions by Opera Carolina  for which Kaneko will provide costume and set design, beginning with their January 19 - January 29 2012 run of Madama Butterfly.


The presentation of Jun Kaneko's works at the Mint Museum Uptown will give both opera and art enthusiasts an opportunity to gain further insights into the creative process of costume and set design, in addition to learning more about Kaneko's range of work.


Check out Sunday Fun Day on January 15! 


"Monumental Minimalist" from Arts in Nebraska



From Ceramics and Sculpture to Costumes and Sets 


Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942. Originally moving to the United States in 1963 to study painting, he quickly became involved in the Abstract Expressionist movement in ceramics at the Chouinard Art Institute, now the California Institute of the Arts,. He later moved to Northern California and studied under pioneering ceramic sculptors, Peter Voulkos and Jerry Routhman. He began making his first Dango sculptures in the 1980s. These hollow-cast ceramic vase-like shapes and faces, named dangos after the Japanese word for "dumplings," have become his signature work and can be up to 11 feet in height. He is well-known for creating large public installations as well as being represented in major museum collections including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Oakland Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery and Japan's Wakayama Museum of Modern Art.


While he continues to create ceramic sculptures, drawings and paintings, Kaneko, in 2006, ventured into another art form, costume and set design, for the Omaha Opera Company's production of Madama Butterfly.  As reported in a Creative Loafing Atlanta article, Kaneko originally was not interested in designing for the opera: "It's a heavy commitment, especially if you don't know anything about [opera]. As a studio artist for the last 45 years, I don't work with that many people. With Madama Butterfly, I ended up with about 200 people working together."  Impressed by his designs, the Opera Company of Philadelphia asked him to undertake the costumes and sets for their 2008 production of Fidelio. The San Francisco Opera has followed suit, enrolling Kaneko to oversee the production design for their 2012 performances of The Magic Flute. His designs for these three operas have received critical acclaim and have been featured in productions of these shows by other opera companies across the United States.


Online Resources 



Selected Titles in The Mint Museum Library 



Created by Nicole Jacobson, intern for The Mint Museum Library 


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