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November’s First Friday belongs to Jun Kaneko

Updated: 2013-10-31T16:21:34Z

By ALICE THORSON

The Kansas City Star

Omaha-based Jun Kaneko makes a major First Friday splash in November when his longtime dealer, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, will open an exhibit of the artist’s paintings, bronzes and ceramic sculptures.

The exhibit, “Jun Kaneko: Solo,” coincides with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s presentation of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” on Nov. 9, 13, 15 and 17, featuring costumes and sets designed by Kaneko.

Keith Brumley, the Lyric’s director of design and technical production, promises that the production will offer “21/2 hours of relentless art.”

“The costumes are wonderfully childlike, innocent and unburdened, but still very sophisticated,” he said. “The set is a very simple raked deck and a series of plain projection panels. All of the scenery is projected.”

It consists of colorful drawings, he said, that Kaneko created and then sent to a video animation studio in Omaha.

“There’s always movement of things falling and growing and moving off and moving on,” he said. “The entire production is an abstraction.”

On a recent afternoon, Mary Traylor, the Lyric’s wardrobe supervisor, showed off highlights of the production’s 50-plus costumes, patterned with stripes and polka dots, many in bright colors, some in stark black and white.

“What sets them apart are the layers and geometric shapes,” Traylor said. “The fact that he has contorted the body is not that different from the 17th century farthingale. The bulk is the same.

“The construction on these is unbelievably intricate,” she added, “utilizing pleats, spring steel and a plastic boning product. The skirts are structured with the same spring steel used for hoop skirts. It holds the shape and doesn’t crush. The fabrics were all created by the artist, with the geometric shapes pieced together.”

Traylor pointed out a purple gown in which Kaneko used quilting to create a pattern of relief geometric shapes. He has also designed a series of fantastic head pieces with unusual shapes.

But the production’s pieces de resistance are the animal costumes that appear in Act 1 when the hero, Tamino, plays his magic flute.

There are eight of them, measuring 8 to 9 feet tall. One is a polka-dotted bird costume with a backpack harness inside that the performer straps on, leaving hands free to manipulate the levers that control moving parts of the bird’s head. Cleverly, some of those white polka dots are actually gauze, so that the performer can see through them.

Hand props, including a pitcher, the queen’s dagger and a wine goblet with a blue bowl and red and yellow striped base, also bear the imprint of Kaneko’s vision.

One of the most dramatic props is a snake that Tamino battles at the beginning of Act 1 that is manipulated like a puppet by seven performers dressed in black. It has two heads with different moves.

Kansas City’s Kaneko bash begins Thursday, when the artist will discuss his designs for the opera at 6 p.m. in Atkins Auditorium at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. He will be joined by Catherine Futter, the museum’s senior curator of architecture, design and decorative arts.

Friday, in addition to the opening at Sherry Leedy from 7 to 9 p.m., Lyric Opera apprentices will perform arias from the opera on the hour from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Beth Ingram Administration Building, 1725 Holmes St. The evening will include complimentary refreshments and a chance to see Kaneko’s drawings for the costumes and sets. Visitors will also have an opportunity to photograph themselves posed in cardboard cutouts of selected costumes.

Beth Ingram Administration Building

Lyric Opera of Kansas City Magic Flute Celebration

When: Friday (reception with entertainment and refreshments, 5:30-8:30 p.m.). Open one night only

Where: 1725 Holmes St.

Info: 816-471-4933

Blue Djinn Gallery

‘Bad Medicine Wheel: Doc Snyder’

When: Friday (reception 6-9 p.m.) through Jan. 31

Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Where: 1400 Union Ave.

Info: 816-518-4649

Blue Gallery

November group exhibition

When: Friday (reception 7-9 p.m.) through Dec. 2

Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment

Where: 118 Southwest Blvd.

Info: 816-527-0823

Box Gallery

‘KC Swing: Jazz Photography by Diallo Javonne French’

When: Friday (reception 4:30-6:30 p.m. with live jazz by Eddie Moore & the Outer Circle) through Jan. 31

Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday

Where: Commerce Bank Building at 1000 Walnut St.

Info: 816-760-7885

City Ice Arts

‘In Site: Gerry Trilling’

When: Friday (reception 6-9 p.m.) through Dec. 7

Hours: Noon-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and by appointment

Where: 2015 Campbell St.

Info: 816-820-4105

Farm to Market gallery space

Steph Toth Kates & Genny Landregan

When: Friday (reception 6-8 p.m.) through Nov. 29

Hours: By appointment

Where: 100 E. 20th St.

Info: 816-929-0234

The Gallery at Christ Community

Noelle Stoffel

When: Friday (reception 5:30-9 p.m.) through Dec. 31

Hours: By appointment

Where: 1708 Baltimore Ave.

Info: 913-402-2762

The Guild

Thomas Woodward

When: Friday (reception 6-9 p.m. with live music by DJ Elwood and Heartfelt Anarchy; cash bar and food for sale by Cupini’s). Open one night only.

Where: 1621 Locust St.

Info: 816-854-0025

Hilliard Gallery

‘The Year in Review: Works From Our Shows of 2013’

When: Friday (reception 6-10 p.m.) through Nov. 30

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment

Where: 1820 McGee St.

Info: 816-561-2956

Kemper at the Crossroads

‘Ride or Die’

When: Noon-10 p.m. First Fridays only through Dec. 6.

Where: 33 W. 19th St.

Info: 816-753-5784

Krzyz Studio

Photography of Dave Shaughnessy, Fionan O’Connell and Barry Hendrickson

When: Friday (reception with entertainment and refreshments, a Samhain celebration benefit for the Kansas City Irish Center, 6-9 p.m.). Open one night only.

Where: 1800 Locust St.

Info: 816-472-4999

La Esquina

‘We’ll Make Out Better Than Okay’

When: November First Friday extended hours, noon-8 p.m. The show continues through Dec. 20.

Hours: Noon-5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday

Where: 1000 W. 25th St.

Info: 816-221-5115

The Late Show

‘Nora Othic: Providence’

When: Friday (reception 6-10 p.m.) through Nov. 30

Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and by appointment

Where: 1600 Cherry St.

Info: 816-474-1300

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

‘Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection’

‘Heinrich Toh: Momentary Longing’

Kansas City Textile Studio holiday sale

Group show: Kansas City Art Institute students

‘Alessandra Dzuba: Containment’

When: Friday (reception 6-9 p.m.) through Dec. 28; Dali closes Nov. 24; Dzuba closes Nov. 30

Hours: Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

Where: 2012 Baltimore Ave.

Info: 816-474-1919

Locust Factory

First Friday Art Fair with special guest Hand Magazine

When: Friday (6-10 p.m. reception) and noon-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: 504 E. 18th St. (west end of the building)

Info: 816-716-5940

Main Street Gallery

‘Amy Green: Separation Anxiety’

Special art auction benefiting LGBTQIA

When: Friday (reception 6-9 p.m.) through Nov. 23; benefit auction is one night only

Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Sunday

Where: 1610 Main St. (upstairs at Anton’s Tap Room & Restaurant)

Info: 816-210-6534

Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery

Día de los Muertos exhibit

When: Friday (second reception 6-10 p.m.) through Nov. 15

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Where: 915 W. 17th St.

Info: 816-221-2349

Red Star Studios inside Belger Crane Yard Studios

‘Ceramics Top 40’

‘Affably Amusing’

When: Friday (reception for both shows 6-9 p.m.) “Top 40” through Jan. 25; curator lecture with Leslie Ferrin, 7 p.m. Nov. 7. “Affably Amusing” through Dec. 28.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: 2011 Tracy Ave.

Info: 816-474-7316

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art

‘Jun Kaneko: Solo’

When: Friday (reception 7-9 p.m.) through Dec. 21

Hours: 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment

Where: 2004 Baltimore Ave.

Info: 816-221-2626

Slap-n-Tickle Gallery

‘The Virgin Suicides: New Work by Betsy Barratt’

When: Friday (reception 6-11 p.m.) through Nov. 16

Hours: Noon-4 p.m. Nov. 2 and by appointment

Where: 504 E. 18th St.

Info: 816-716-5940

Todd Weiner Gallery

Jim Sajovic: ‘Hix Fragments & (pash’n)’

When: Friday (reception 5-10 p.m.) through Dec. 2

Hours: 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and by appointment

Where: 115 W. 18th St.

Info: 816-984-8538

Vine Street Studio

Carl J. Mack

When: Friday (reception 5-8 p.m.) through Nov. 30

Hours: 3-5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 4-6 p.m. Friday

Where: 2033 Vine St.

Info: 816-645-1052

VML Wise Gallery

‘Revise: A Group Show’

When: Friday (reception 6-9 p.m.) through Nov. 8

Hours: By appointment

Where: 2020 Baltimore Ave., third floor

Info: 816-665-8118

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