December 2, 2014

Having worked in museums and similar organizations for most of the last twenty-five or so years, the work they do is close to my heart. Many museum exhibitions have told parts of the story of the Japanese American wartime exclusion and incarceration, and I’ve added a new Densho Encyclopedia overview article on that topic, along with separate articles on many of the individual exhibitions. Among the new individual exhibition articles are ones on the influential 1992 art exhibition The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942–1945, issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 by the Japanese American National Museum, UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Wight Art Gallery and the much traveled The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942–1946. These join many previously issued article on earlier exhibitions ranging from Ansel Adams’ 1944 exhibition of Manzanar photographs at the Museum of Modern Art to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s A More Perfect Union: Japanese American & the U.S. Constitution. Many others will appear in subsequent weeks. There has been relatively little examination of these exhibitions over time, so I hope this makes a contribution to our knowledge of the topic. I’ve also tried to compile as complete a list of exhibitions as possible at the end of the article. If you know any that are missing please feel free to let me know.

Also added are two articles on landmark legal cases involving challenges of the so-called alien land laws after the war, Masaoka v. California and Kenji Namba v. McCourt, both by Greg Robinson. These join Greg’s earlier articles on two other land law cases, Oyama v. California and Fujii v. California. Collectively, these challenges, launched in response to increased enforcement of the land laws during and immediately after the war, effectively ended enforcement of the laws that so dramatically affected the status of Japanese Americans. As part of her series of pieces on artists and writers whose work references the incarceration, Patricia Wakida adds pieces on photographers Clem Albers, Masumi Hayashi, Patrick Nagatani.