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Lecture & Reception 'Cranbrook's Japanese Garden in Context: Japanese-Style Landscapes in America, Then and Now'

  • Cranbrook Institute of Science 39221 Woodward Avenue Bloomfield Township, MI, 48304 United States (map)

Lecture by Dr. Kendall Brown, California State University, Long Beach

Cranbrook Institute of Science Auditorium Free parking is available in the Institute of Science parking deck.

The Lecture will be followed by a Sushi Reception in the West Entrance of the Cranbrook Institute of Science

Admission is Free.

Presented by Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research

Co-sponsored by the Japan America Society of Michigan and Southwestern Ontario and hosted in partnership with Cranbrook Institute of Science.

In 1915, Cranbrook founders George and Ellen Booth attended the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Inspired by the exposition’s Japanese pavilion, they returned to Cranbrook and transformed a humble rock garden on their country estate in Bloomfield Hills into a serene Japanese garden. This lecture explores the fashion for Japanese gardens in America in the first decades of the 20th century, tracing their presence at worlds’ fairs, commercial sites, and great country homes. It then explores both the social and psychological reasons that explain this "Japanese garden madness." The presentation concludes by sketching how Japanese gardens are playing new, dynamic roles as sites of wellness and transformation today.


Dr. Kendall H. Brown is Professor of Asian Art History in the School of Art at California State University, Long Beach. He received BA and MA degrees in history and art history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University. In addition to actively publishing in several areas of Japanese art, including 16th- and 17th-century painting and 20th-century woodblock prints, Professor Brown is a leading figure in the study of Japanese gardens in North America. His book, Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America (Tuttle, 2013) is considered the definitive study in this field. After planning the International Conference on Japanese Gardens Outside Japan in 2009, he served as President of the Board of the North American Japanese Garden Association from 2012-2014. He currently is working on a book, Visionary Landscapes, which explores the styles, meanings, and functions of Japanese gardens in the 21st century. This is his first lecture in Michigan.



Cranbrook Institute of Science is located at  For more information, please contact the Center for Collections and Research at 248-645-3307.

Earlier Event: February 24
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