Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience” will be screened on Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.
From the hand-drawn typeface on the cover of “The Godfather” to Herman Miller’s biomorphic coffee table, the work of Japanese American designers — including Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita, and Gyo Obata — permeated postwar culture.
While these second-generation Japanese American artists have been celebrated, less-discussed is how their World War II incarceration — a period of intense hardship and discrimination — had a powerful effect on their lives and art.
This documentary, a co-production between JANM’s Watase Media Arts Center and KCET for the series “Artbound,” explores the ways in which their camp experiences impacted their lives, influenced their art, and sent them on trajectories that eventually led to their changing the face of American culture with their immense talents.
A Q&A with the filmmakers and some of the people interviewed for the film and a light reception will follow the screening. This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended. For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org.
The film will be broadcast in Southern California on KCET and available for streaming on kcet.org/artbound starting May 15. For more information, visit www.kcet.org.