Editor's note: The Joslyn Art Museum provided source material to Resource Library for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Joslyn Art Museum directly through either this phone number or web address:


Jun Kaneko: Madama Butterfly

February 25 - May 7, 2006


From February 25 through May 7, 2006, Joslyn Art Museum will present Jun Kaneko: Madama Butterfly, an exhibition celebrating the artist Jun Kaneko's set and costume designs for Opera Omaha's spring 2006 performance of Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly.For this stunning new production, Opera Omaha chose the internationally acclaimed artist and Omaha resident Jun Kaneko to create the sets and costumes. Kaneko agreed, in part, because designing for the stage is something he has never done. He subsequently immersed himself in studies of the opera, Puccini, and, especially, Madama Butterfly. He traveled to attend different performances of the opera in order to absorb the numerous ways in which a designer could interpret this story about the tragic romance between an American Navy lieutenant and a young Japanese girl. (right: Jun Kaneko, Wedding Butterfly, 2005, pencil and acrylic on paper, for Opera Omaha's production of Madama Butterfly, photo by Dirk Bakker, ©KANEKO 2005, on view in the special exhibition Jun Kaneko: Madama Butterfly, Feb. 25-May 7, 2006, Joslyn Art Museum)

Jun Kaneko: Madama Butterfly at Joslyn presents a selection of Kaneko's drawings for costumes and stage sets as well as three six-foot bronze heads designed for the Opera Omaha production of one of the most popular operas of all time.

Jun Kaneko: Madama Butterfly enjoys the support of Joslyn Art Museum's Corporate Partners, a membership program that offers unique Museum benefits to company employees while supporting Joslyn's collections, exhibitions, and educational programs.


About Jun Kaneko

Jun Kaneko (b. 1942) studied painting during high school in his hometown of Nagoya, Japan. He came to the U.S. in 1963 to continue those studies at Chouinard Institute of Art when his focus was drawn to sculptural ceramics through his introduction to Fred Marer. He studied in California during the time now defined as the contemporary ceramics movement. The following decade, Kaneko taught at some of the nation's leading art schools, including Scripps College, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and Rhode Island School of Design. He established his current studio in 1990 in Omaha where he primarily works. Kaneko's prolific roster of diverse work appears in international solo and group exhibitions annually. His work is included in more than 40 museum collections and he has realized over 25 public art commissions around the world. He has been honored with national, state and organization fellowships and a doctorate from the Royal College of Art.


Artist Gallery Talk and Selected Exhibition Events and Programs at Joslyn Art Museum

Artist Gallery Talk
Jun Kaneko will give a free public gallery talk about his work for Madama Butterfly on Saturday, March 4 at 11 am in the exhibition gallery.
Young Art Patrons Event
On Thursday, March 16 at 5:30 pm, members of Joslyn's Young Art Patrons (YAP) group will enjoy a special evening viewing Jun Kaneko: Madama Butterfly and learning more about this important opera with members of Opera Omaha's Bravo Club. Guest speakers will be Dr. John Wilson, Joslyn's director of curatorial affairs and curator of European art, and Hal France of Opera Omaha. Invitations will be mailed to YAP members. Those interested in joining YAP may contact Sabrina Weiss, director of patron programs for the Joslyn Foundation, at (402) 342-3300 ext. 313.
Guided Tours
Guided public tours of the exhibition, offered free with Museum admission, which is free on Saturdays, 10 am-noon, will be presented on the following dates: Saturdays at 11:30 am: March 11, 25, April 15, 29.


About Madama Butterfly and Opera Omaha

One of the most popular operas of all time, Madama Butterfly has touched audiences for more than 100 years. It is the story of the American Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton who "marries" young Cio-Cio San in a ceremony that is not legally binding. Cursed by her uncle for this marriage, Cio-Cio San is outcast by her family. Although Pinkerton leaves after their ardent wedding night, Cio-Cio San believes that "one beautiful day" he will return to her and the son he has never seen. When he finally does, it is not happiness, but tragedy, that results.

Opera Omaha presents four performances of Madama Butterfly at the Orpheum Theater: March 17, 19, 22, and 25. Fee.

Opera Omaha and Joslyn's Contemporary Art Society will present a special event, Metamorphosis: Butterfly Takes Flight, celebrating the exhibition opening at Joslyn on Tuesday, February 28 at the Museum. The evening begins at 5:30 pm with a reception, followed by a 6:15 pm talk by artist Jun Kaneko, Madama Butterfly set and costume designer, and Dr. John Wilson, Joslyn's director of curatorial affairs and curator of European art. Exhibition viewing will follow the talk at 7 pm. This event is free and open to the public. For details, contact Opera Omaha at (402) 34-OPERA (346-7372).

Opera Omaha is the only professional opera company in Nebraska. Each season includes productions of original main stage productions, presented at the historic Orpheum Theater, and smaller productions and musical events throughout the community. Opera Omaha is internationally known for its productions of five world premieres and four American premieres of classical masterpieces, and is highly regarded regionally for an extensive education and outreach program that annually reaches as many as 15,000 people from elementary school through adulthood. 2005-2006 marks the company's 48th production year.


Companion Exhibition at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

From March 3 through May 28, 2006, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts will present Jun Kaneko: Beyond Butterfly. This exhibition features new paintings and works in glass and ceramic by Kaneko, inspired by and completed after his work for the Opera Omaha production of Madama Butterfly. For more information about this exhibition, call the Bemis at (402) 341-7130 or visit www.bemiscenter.org.

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is an international artist-in-residency program located in the historic Old Market area. Artists from around the world live and work in second-floor studios throughout the year. Three galleries as well as the bemisUNDERGROUND feature contemporary art exhibitions, and events include monthly Art Talks on the first Thursday of every month, Gallery Talks, workshops and more.


Editor's note: Resource Library readers may also enjoy:

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Joslyn Art Museum in Resource Library

Visit the Table of Contents for Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2006 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.