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NAC’s Permanent Collection

Harry Jackson

Jun Kaneko

Jun Kaneko
Glazed Ceramics, 5′ Dango, 2003
Installed in the Norfolk Arts Center’s Garden December 4, 2020.

We are truly honored to welcome a Jun Kaneko sculpture as part of the Norfolk Arts Center’s permanent collection. Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942. He studied painting with Satoshi Ogawa during his adolescence. He came to the United States in 1963 to continue his studies at Chouinard Institute of Art when his introduction to Fred Marer drew him to sculptural ceramics. He has been based in Omaha since 1986, Over the course of his career he has partnered with industrial facilities to realize large-scale, hand-built sculptures. Kaneko is increasingly drawn to installations that promote civic interaction; completing over sixty public art commissions, including a two three hundred and fifty foot long tile wall at Aquarium Station in Boston, MA (1993-2000), a three-story high wall in the Biology library at The University of Connecticut (1997), and an eighty-eight foot tall Glass Tower at the Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, NE (2017); other large scale permanent installations can be seen in Osaka, Japan (1994), Kansas City, MO (2006), Des Moines, IA (2013), and at the International Finance Center in Shanghai, China (2012). His artwork appears in numerous international and national solo and group exhibitions annually, and is included in more than seventy museum collections. Kaneko holds honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, and the Royal College of Art in London
Jun Kaneko has designed the sets and costumes for three operas: Puccini’s Madame Butterfly (2006), Beethoven’s Fidelio (2008), and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (2012).  All three have toured throughout the United States. Opera Omaha recently staged Fidelio in April 2015. The San Francisco Opera and the Washington National Opera both recently presented his Madame Butterfly in Winter 2016 and Spring 2017, respectively.
In 1998, Jun Kaneko and his wife Ree formed KANEKO, a non-profit cultural organization to serve the community as an open space for creativity. KANEKO is headquartered in landmark, turn-of-the-century warehouses in the Old Market District of Omaha, Nebraska.
The piece, “Untitled” created in 2003, is part of Kaneko’s Dango series of work and has been displayed in a long list of galleries across the US before finding its permanent home in the Norfolk Arts Center’s sculpture garden. The acquisition was a generous donation made in memory of Margie Nichols by her husband Thomas Nichols and sister Helen Bradford. Margie was an active life-long supporter of the arts. and the NAC is honored to carry on her legacy. The Dango can be experienced in “Margie’s Garden,” named after Marg Hoille, a founding member of the Norfolk Arts Center and the mother of Margie Nichols.