PN-2771
Patrick Nagatani, Minidoka, Japanese-American Concentration Camp, Idaho, October 15, 1994, 1994. Chromogenic print. 11 x 14 in. Courtesy of Andrew Smith Gallery. © Estate of Patrick Nagatani
Talk, Online Programs, Free

No Monument: A Conversation with Margo Machida, Elena Tajima Creef, and Karen Yamashita

Wednesday, May 11, 2022
5:30 pm-7 pm
Free

Coinciding with No Monument: In the Wake of the Japanese American Incarceration, scholars Margo Machida, Elena Tajima Creef, and Karen Yamashita join the exhibition’s guest curators Genji Amino and Christina Hiromi Hobbs for a webinar discussion reflecting on the problems of history and memory raised by the exhibition, which focuses on the overlooked experiments of Japanese American sculptors and photographers in the wake of the World War II incarceration. 

How do we remember an event rendered unrepresentable from the outset by official narratives, and unspeakable in retrospect by collective trauma? 

The presentations last approximately 45 minutes, followed by a moderated discussion led by Genji Amino and Christina Hiromi Hobbs, with time afterwards for questions and comments. 

A recording of this program is available by request to events@noguchi.org.

About the Exhibition

No Monument: In the Wake of the Japanese American Incarceration 
The Noguchi Museum, New York, March 16–May 15, 2022

On the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of the issuance of Executive Order 9066, which effectively authorized the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans by the United States government during World War II, No Monument: In the Wake of the Japanese American Incarceration responds to the ambivalent status of commemoration and memorialization of historical trauma in light of the artistic experiments of Japanese Americans whose silences, refusals, studies, and dreams persist in its wake.

The exhibition suggests not only that public memory in the United States has failed and even worked to negate the history of the incarceration, but also that conventional approaches to memorialization may not always represent the most appropriate response to the complexities of addressing historical trauma and contested histories. Rather than monumentalizing and documenting the events of the incarceration and its aftermath, the artists featured in the exhibition turned to difficult questions of opacity and transparency, silence and testament, contingency and precarity that arose out of the ways in which the ideas of monument and document were inadequate to describe how these submerged histories failed to register for public memory.

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About the Speakers

Margo Machida

Margo Machida, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita of Art History and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. Born and raised in Hawai‘i, she is a scholar, independent curator, and cultural critic specializing in Asian American art and visual culture. She has lectured widely on her research both nationally and internationally, and served as a curatorial advisor for the inaugural 2017 Honolulu Biennial. Her book, Unsettled Visions: Contemporary Asian American Artists and the Social Imaginary (Duke University Press, 2009) received the Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. She has published extensively, frequently contributing to journals including Pacific Arts: The Journal of the Pacific Arts Association, Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, and Third Text; and to edited volumes and exhibition catalogues including Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision (University of California Press, 2022), XianRui: Ten Years (Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, 2018), Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader (NYU Press, 2013), Carlos Villa and the Integrity of Spaces (Meritage Press, 2012), A Companion to Asian Art and Architecture (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), and Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970 (Stanford University Press, 2008). Machida received the 2021 College Art Association Excellence in Diversity Award, and is a co-founder of GODZILLA: Asian American Art Network (1990–2001).

Elena Tajima Creef

Elena Tajima Creef is a Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College. She is the author of Shadow Traces: Seeing Japanese/American and Ainu Women in Photographic Archives (Illinois University Press 2022) and Imaging Japanese America: The Visual Construction of Citizenship, Nation, and the Body (NYU 2004). Her current research focuses on photographic histories of Japanese War Brides, the healing power of horses, and historical memory of The Battle of Little Bighorn.

Karen Tei Yamashita

Karen Tei Yamashita was born in Oakland, California; her parents were both survivors of incarceration at the Topaz internment camp during World War II. Yamashita is the author of eight books traversing short story, memoir, and novel—all published by Coffee House Press— including: Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, Circle K Cycles, Anime Wong, and I Hotel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award. Her most recent publication is Sansei and Sensibility (2020). In 2021, Yamashita was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. Yamashita is the recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, and a U.S. Artists’ Ford Foundation Fellowship. Her awards include the California Book Award, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and multiple Association for Asian American Studies Book Awards. She is currently professor emerita of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

About the Organizers

Genji Amino is a writer and curator based in New York. They are a 2021 Emerge-Surface-Be fellow at the Poetry Project and recently the curator of Leo Amino: The Visible and the Invisible at David Zwirner Gallery.

Christina Hiromi Hobbs is a fourth-generation Japanese American writer and curator from the Bay Area currently researching the role of studio and vernacular photography in contesting official histories of the Japanese American incarceration.