Jun Kaneko: In the Round Opens December 10 Exhibition brings historic collaboration between The Mint Museum and Opera Carolina

Artworks from renowned artist Jun Kaneko will be showcased at The Mint Museum Uptown and will transform the plaza in front of the museum landmark building.

 Renowned artist Jun Kaneko’s sculptures and drawings will be showcased in a boutique exhibition at The Mint Museum Uptown when Jun Kaneko: In The Round opens December 10.

The exhibition, in collaboration with Jun Kaneko Studio in Omaha, Nebraska, will include a selection of Kaneko’s signature Dango sculptures and framed drawings of costume designs for Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. And in January, the Mint will co-host special events around Opera Carolina’s production of Madama Butterfly, which will also feature Kaneko’s costume and set designs. The exhibition runs through April 28, 2012.

“This project marks an historic collaboration between The Mint Museum and Opera Carolina,” said Carla Hanzal, Curator of Contemporary Art. “By viewing Kaneko’s sculptures and costume renderings together, one can experience the continuity of form, pattern, and design between these two modes of expression and creation for the artist.”

The internationally acclaimed artist will give a public lecture at the museum on January 22, discussing the evolution of his sculptural work and his recent designs of costume and sets for operas. Additional public programs will include a curator’s tour, guided docent-led tours, an Asian-themed family drop-in event as part of one of the Mint’s Sunday Fun Days series, an adult art class, and a lecture on contemporary Japanese design. An invitation-only reception for The Mint Museum’s Crown Society and Opera Carolina’s Verdi Society is scheduled for January 18.

Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942, and moved to the United States in 1963 to study ceramics at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (now California Institute of the Arts). He later moved to Northern California and studied under pioneering ceramic sculptors Peter Voulkos and Jerry Rothman. Voulkos describes Kaneko’s sculptures as “an amazing synthesis of painting and sculpture…intellectual and playful, technical and innovative.” Kaneko is known for creating large-scale public installations, as well as being represented in major museum collections including the Fine Arts Museum 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.

Opera Carolina’s production of Madama Butterfly performs over two weekends: January 21, and January 26 and 29 at the Belk Theater in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.  For ticket information, call 704.372.1000 or visit www.operacarolina.org.

“The collaboration between Opera Carolina and The Mint Museum is an exceptional opportunity for art lovers and opera lovers to come together and celebrate the creativity of master artist Jun Kaneko,” said James Meena, general director and principal conductor of Opera Carolina.  “We are so very grateful to Dr. Kathleen Jameson and the team at the Mint for helping us explore Kaneko’s transformation of his artwork into his exciting designs for Madama Butterfly.”

“We are thrilled by the opportunity to collaborate with an institution as respected as Opera Carolina, and to increase appreciation for a renowned artist by showcasing a variety of mediums of his work,” added Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President and CEO of The Mint Museum.