The 1915 Japanese Garden on the original Booth Estate—one of Cranbrook’s oldest cultural landscapes—will serve as the point of departure for the story of Japanese Americans during and after World War II, both nationally and in Metropolitan Detroit.
Bonnie Clark will tell the largely unknown story of the Japanese gardens of Amache, the U.S. government’s War Relocation Authority incarceration camp in Colorado where Japanese Americans were confined. Combining physical evidence with oral histories and archival data—enriched by the personal photographs and memories of Amache’s former Japanese American incarcerees—the archaeologist who literally uncovered the story will describe how gardeners cultivated community in confinement. Her presentation will include the story of Kaneji Domoto, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentices at Taliesin before the war.
Mika Kennedy will move the conversation back to Michigan. Like many Americans nationwide, Cranbrook’s leaders distanced themselves from Japan during World War II, renaming the Japanese Garden the “Oriental Garden.” Yet they also re-embraced the Japanese community in the decades immediately after the war. The 1970s witnessed the initial rejuvenation of the Japanese Garden, and Cranbrook opened its campus to the Japanese community, offering Brookside School (the campus’s elementary school) as the site for the first Japanese School of Detroit and their Saturday morning math and Japanese language classes. In focusing on the development of Metropolitan Detroit’s Japanese community during the aftermath of the war and into the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Kennedy’s presentation will provide a regional cultural context for Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden and the development of the Japanese School on its campus.
Dr. Bonnie J. Clark is Professor and Curator for Archaeology in the University of Denver’s Anthropology Department. She is the author of the 2020 book Finding Solace in the Soil: An Archaeology of Gardens and Gardeners at Amache (University Press of Colorado), co-editor of Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains, co-author of Denver: An Archaeological History, and a member of the North American Japanese Gardens Association Board of Directors. For more information, please visit Clark’s website.
Dr. Mika Kennedy is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Kalamazoo College and a co-curator of Exiled to Motown, the JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) Detroit Chapter’s exhibit of Japanese American community in Detroit. Her current book project examines narratives of Japanese American incarceration and their dialogue with questions about the environment, the “frontier,” and Native sovereignty. She is gosei, or fifth-generation Japanese American. For more information, please visit Kennedy’s website.
About the Bauder Lecture Series Unsettling Landscapes at Cranbrook represents the fifth installment of the Center’s annual Lillian and Donald Bauder Lecture Series. Established in 2016 through a generous gift from Cranbrook President Emeritus Dr. Lillian Bauder and her late husband Donald Bauder, this endowed lecture series allows the Center to bring to campus speakers of national significance whose work intersects with the history of Cranbrook and its legacy.
The inaugural Bauder Lecture in 2017 brought to Cranbrook author David Sax for a conversation about his book The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter (2016). The second lecture in 2018 featured Columbia University professor of art history and MoMA curator Barry Bergdoll, who told the story of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career and the successful transfer of Wright’s archive from Taliesin to New York. During the third lecture in 2019, Tim Whalen, the John E. and Louise Bryson Director of the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, presented five of the Institute’s multidisciplinary projects and their ongoing role in the conservation of the world’s cultural heritage. Most recently during the fourth lecture in 2020—the Center’s first virtual lecture after the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic—Brendan Cormier, a Senior Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, discussed his groundbreaking exhibition, Cars: Accelerating the Modern World.
A visionary leader, Dr. Bauder served as Cranbrook’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 1983 to 1996, a period during which she not only developed Cranbrook’s first community-wide strategic plans but also created a master plan that ultimately led to the building of the Vlasic Early Childhood Center, the Williams Natatorium, the Academy of Art’s New Studios Building, and the expansion of the Institute of Science. In 1996, Dr. Bauder became Vice President of Masco Corporation, a position she held until she retired in 2007. A 2014 recipient of Cranbrook’s prestigious Founders Award, Dr. Bauder now resides in Columbia, Maryland.
On the Friday prior to each of the lecture dates, registered participants will receive an email with instructions on how to join these virtual experiences; a reminder will be sent one hour prior to the start of the lectures. Each link is unique, and advance registration is required for all participants. The lectures will begin promptly at their scheduled times and will be followed by a ten-minute Q&A session. The Center’s virtual auditorium will open fifteen minutes before the lectures begin for informal conversation and to permit participants time to test their Zoom connection.
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Banner Image (from left to right): Gregory J. Fioritto, Eric Hemenway, John P. Bowes, Mika Kennedy, Thomas J. Sugrue, and Bonnie Clark. Photographs, except Hemenway, courtesy of the speakers; Hemenway photograph published online in MyNorth.com on April 24, 2017, in an article by Lou Blouin.
Postcard of the “Oriental Garden” at Cranbrook with Rudy Fedus seated near the Japanese Kasuga Lantern, circa 1976. Published by Cranbrook Gardens Auxiliary. Collection of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Gift of Katie McCreighton Young, 2019.
Booke Cover and Exhibition Postcard Images Courtesy of the Speakers.