Design Lab: A Critical Collaborations Retrospective

Recently, in conjunction with the presentation of Design Lab: An Open Sketchbook on Aurora, the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments hosted a series of weekly design intensives. Using Seattle’s Aurora Avenue as a point of departure, students and visitors publicly addressed issues of identity, place, and civic infrastructure through design. The sessions were offered as part of  the new course “Critical Collaboration: Tools for the Contemporary Urban Environment” and held in the Henry’s Test Site.
Brian Brooks & Holly Schwarz standing near a drawing that mysteriously appeared with no signature during the course of the exhibition.

Co- facilitators Brian Brooks & Holly Schwarz standing near a drawing that mysteriously appeared with no signature during the course of the exhibition. If you are the mystery artist, they say “Thank you.” Photo by P.D. Keenen

Bryan Brooks and Holly Schwartz, two of the four graduate students who co-facilitated Design Lab, helped design and set the tone of the new course, creating a space as Bryan said that was:

“Ready to be colonized.” – Bryan

Students colonizing the space by placing artifacts to be used during the charrette's schedule every Thursday.

Students colonizing the space by placing artifacts to be used during the charrette’s schedule every Thursday. Installation image. Henry Art Gallery.

Each week a charrette was organized around a theme and it was up to students to bring in artifacts that would engage and drive discussion at the public events.

Holly spoke about why they were so passionate about creating this space for other students.

“A piece was lacking in our education, so we created this to fill in that gap. It was our theory — to practice connecting with other disciplines, like we would for a job.” – Holly


The piece they felt needed the most practice was collaborating, not only within their own discipline but learning to work with the different voices  — from the public  and other areas of expertise and fields.

“You don’t know the voices coming to the table and how well they will collaborate.” – Holly

Students from the transportation charrette.  Installation image. Henry Art Gallery.

Students from the transportation charrette.
Image courtesy of Henry Art Gallery.

“Collaboration starts with where you begin — it’s a guide to how you interact.” – Bryan

Students from the politics charrette. Photo by Chona Kasinger

Students from the politics charrette.
Photo by Chona Kasinger

Starting from a similar beginning mindset was of key importance to the class design, and they facilitated that mindset by having everyone take the Myers-Briggs personality quiz. Holly reflected on the importance of the test to not just get them on the same page but how it would help them collaborate with others.

“Taking the test helps you self analyze. The students learn how and if they are heard. They might discover they need to change tactics to get others to hear a message.” – Holly


By all accounts the class was a successful experiment. You can read more student reflections on their blog. From their last Facebook update though it seems all ended well, especially if you like beer and cupcakes.

From their celebratory last post on Facebook: "We've got cupcakes, we've got beer. Now we're just missing you!"

From their celebratory last post on Facebook: “We’ve got cupcakes, we’ve got beer. Now we’re just missing you!”



The Week Ahead @ The Henry

Opening this Saturday, the Henry is proud to present Berlin-based Jason Dodge’s first comprehensive North American exhibition What We Have Done and Korean-born artist Haegue Yang’s solo exhibition Anachronistic Layers of Dispersion.

Haegue Yang: Anachronistic Layers of Dispersion

The exacting process of this installation has been fascinating to watch. Join us on Saturday to see to celebrate its completion!

Haegue Yang: Anachronistic Layers of Dispersion

Starting to hang the installation early last week.

Jason Dodge: What We Have Done

In What We Have Done, Dodge will show recent work as well as debut two major new works created especially for this exhibition. The artist’s interest in literature and, in particular, poetry informs his practice. To mark the opening, we are hosting a poetry reading from 2-4 pm on Saturday featuring Matthew Dickman, Dorothea Lasky, and Joshua Beckman

Other Cool Henry Happenings this Week

VIDEO//YOGA, Thursday, Oct 17

Instructor and curator at Interstitial Theater, Julia Greenway, will lead us in a yoga class to excite the senses as video art plays on the screen as you hold the pose. Class starts promptly at 12:30; check in with the front desk for location. Bring your own mat, please.

Affect & Audience in the Digital Age, Friday, Oct 18th

Discover how digital interacts with poetry at this free symposium Friday night at 6 pm. Does a tweet or Facebook post have the potential to be as impactful as a sonnet? Join us to find out.

Spaghetti Code, Sunday, Oct 20th

From 2-4 pm, artist Sol Hashemi will lead us through activities to explore photography and sculpture through the lens of computer, internet, and hackerspace. Discuss the artist’s latest Test Site Project Software Update/System Build. This event is free. 

Sol Hashemi. Untitled (Office Clutter Vol. 2).

Sol Hashemi. Untitled (Office Clutter Vol. 2).

The Week Ahead @ The Henry

It’s a big week for us at the Henry — we’re gearing up to celebrate the 10th birthday of our beloved Skyspace, Light Reign!

An external view of the Skyspace. Photo credit: Dan Bennett

An external view of the Skyspace.                                      Photo credit: Dan Bennett

Join us THIS FRIDAY, July 19th for cake, ice cream, beer, and fun! Inside and outside of the Skyspace, artists, performers, and poets will explore ideas about the psychology of visual perception, celestial events, and light and optics. A display about the Skyspace will also be on view, featuring the Light Reign architectural model, a short video about artist James Turrell and the creation of Light Reign, and information about Turrell’s Skyspaces around the world.

Special Cocktail Hour for Henry Contemporaries and Patrons

Henry Contemporaries and Patrons are invited to an exclusive cocktail hour and barbecue from 5:30-6:30, before the event opens to the general public. Enjoy summery cocktails and kebabs with old and new friends. Reserve your spot here. Not a Contemporary or Patron? Become one and gain access to exclusive Henry events.


Also this week…

On Wednesday, July 17, Joe Milutis, Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell, will guide visitors through Paul Laffoley: Premonitions of the Bauharoque for a tour titled Mysticism as Information Design. Drawing from sources in alchemy, theosophy, and contemporary art, he will situate Laffoley’s work in the context of the long tradition of the mystic diagram, a visual trope that may tell us as much, if not more, about the history of design than the imponderabilia it attempts to grasp.

Laffoley exhibition

Paul Laffoley: Premonitions of the Bauharoque is on view through September 15.               Photo credit: R.J. Sánchez

Relax with DOWN TIME

Have you checked out our summer show Down Time in the Test Site? This week we are featuring “Life Hacks.” Join us for a demonstration and workshop with Ned Konz of Jigsaw Renaissance, who will teach you how to make light and capture it in a jar. Inspired by do-it-yourself culture and the wealth of how-to resources on the internet, Down Time is an eight-week presentation that explores free-choice learning and the pursuit of entertainment in our “down” time. This Friday, July 19th, 6 pm.

And what else could possibly be happening on Friday? BIKE FRIDAY! Ride your bike to the Henry and get in FREE every Friday, all summer long.

See you at the museum!

What do you like to do in your Down Time?


If you want to learn how to do something, where do you go? To the internet!

Inspired by Do-It-Yourself culture and the wealth of how-to resources on the internet, our new Test Site  exploration, Down Time, is an eight-week presentation that explores free-choice learning and the pursuit of entertainment in our free time.

Most of us have gone to YouTube to watch a video on how to do [insert your favorite, tangential, and/or esoteric interest here]. Within a sea of exhibitionists, quacks, and celebrity seekers, we can also find real teachers and mentors who want to share their knowledge openly and at no cost.

And that is what we want to do for you this summer, gentle reader.

Each week,  Down Time will focus on a theme or activity in the form of video tutorials found on the web and will culminate with a  live tutorial or workshop hosted in the Test Site led by a guest local practitioner. These face-to-face learning opportunities offer an alternative to the online tutorials, allowing visitors to contrast and compare online learning with live tutorials.

The videos presented in this project were selected as a result of recommendations from specialists in each of the areas presented, suggestions from internet enthusiasts, and from Henry staff (ahem, official FYI: the video content presented in Down Time is not endorsed by Henry Art Gallery nor is it necessarily reflect the views of the institution).

Mark your calendars!

Week 1: Home Fermentation

Friday, July 5th at 4 p.m.

Kombucha demo with Chris Joyner of CommuniTea

Check out our Facebook invitation. The first 10 people to arrive on Friday, get a FREE starter kit — and if you ride your bike, you’ll get in to the museum for FREE because it’s Bike Friday!

Week 2: Extreme Makeovers  

Friday, July 12 at 5 p.m.

Make-up demos with Shannon Bisconer of Vain

Week 3: Life Hacks

Friday, August 19 at 6 p.m.

Light in a Jar Demo with Ned Konz of Jigsaw Renaissance

Week 4: Yoga

Tuesday, July  - Friday, July 27 at 12 p.m.

Yoga with Julia Greenway of Interstitial Theatre

Week 5: Throat Singing

Friday, August 2 at 4 p.m.

Throat Singing Workshop with Arrington de Dionyso

Week 6: Music Video Dance Tutorials

Friday, August 9 at 6 p.m.

Workshop with Kate Wallich


This Week Ahead @ the Henry


School’s out! Come hang with us at the Henry!

Wednesday, June 19th

Public Tour, 12:00 – 12:30 pm:  Seattle artist and newly-minted UW MFA Dave Kennedy will lead a tour through Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty. Dave’s work shares themes of passion, self-doubt, inner struggle, and introspection with the works exhibited in Out [o] Fashion. Recently awarded a solo show at 4Culture in April of 2014, Dave’s work has been shown at GGibson, Photo Center Northwest, and Seattle Art Museum’s Gallery.

Thursday, June 20th

ArtsDawgs Series: MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition and Reception, 6:00-8:00 pm: You are invited to the final ArtsDawgs event of the year! After a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception at 6 pm, take a walk-through of the UW MFA + MDes thesis exhibition. Buy your ticket here or at the door (only $8; unless you are a Henry member, then you are FREE)!

What’s an ArtsDawg? The UW Alumni Association and ArtsUW have partnered to offer UWAA members an exciting opportunity to experience the arts at UW as an insider. With just a click of your mouse and a flash of your member card, you can attend select performances and exhibitions, indulge in exclusive pre-show receptions, and hear from knowledgeable artists and faculty.


Closing this Sunday!

You have just a week left to see the 2013 UW MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition. Seventeen burgeoning artists all in one gallery: visit now so you can say you saw them when. Small Change by first year MFA candidate Rebecca Chernow also ends on Sunday. Have you checked out her wares? Traded or bartered anything? Everything must go!

MFA + MDes Opening

MDes Candidate Mike Fretto (right) talks with visitors. Photo credit: Dan Bennett

The Week Ahead @ the Henry

Making plans for the week? Check out what’s happening here at the Henry.

Industrial Effects: Photographs from the Henry Art Gallery Collection is open now through September 1.

Over the years, photographers have traced the rise and fall of industry’s popularity, from sweeping views of skyscrapers to critical looks at industry’s effect on workers and the environment. Through a selection of photographs from the Henry’s permanent collection, Industrial Effects traces evolving attitudes toward industry from the 19th century until now. This exhibition is organized by Sylvia Wolf, Director.


Edward Burtynsky. Shipbreaking #12, Chittagong, Bangladesh. 2000. Chromogenic color print. Henry Art Gallery, gift of Dale and Leslie Chihuly.

Thursday, June 13

Mindfulness Meditation, 12:30 – 1:00. Mindful Awareness is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental, and emotional experiences. Thursday’s session will be held in the East Gallery which is currently showing Paul Laffoley: Premonitions of the Bauharoque. This event is free. Please check in at the front desk.

Saturday, June 15

Public Forum: Free Market, 1:00 – 3:00. Everything must go! Toward the close of Small Change, once all of the handmade currency has been dispersed, artist Rebecca Chernow will be hosting a “liquidation sale” during which time everything that has accumulated in the space through means of trade and barter will be made available to the public.

Visitors are encouraged to empty the gallery space of its contents in this final week, exchanging real U.S. dollars (on a strictly donation basis, at their discretion) for objects of their choosing. All donations support the Henry’s mission of advancing the art, artists, and ideas of our time.

shelf with small items

Items ready for purchase in Small Change

The Week Ahead @ the Henry

Here’s what’s happening this week at the Henry!

Thursday, June 6th
4:45-6 - The 2013 Annual Meeting of the Henry Gallery Association - Come hear about what we have accomplished in the past year and what we have to look forward to in 2013-14.

7-8 - Artist Talk: Rebecca Chernow - Join us for a discussion on and around issues of labor, trade, currency, and gift economies inspired by Rebecca Chernow’s concurrent study on the topic. Small Change is a four-week presentation of research into themes of reciprocity, barter, debt, and the emergence of markets and related value systems through the creation and distribution of an invented currency.

Rbecca Chernow, artist

Rebecca Chernow works on installing “Small Change” (photo credit: Robert Wade)

Sunday, June 9th
2-3:30 – Family Sundays at the Henry! -  Family Sundays at the Henry are especially designed for adults and children to learn and create togetherJoin us as we explore Richard Elliott’s Cycle of the Sun and the influences that helped shape his work including geometry, quilting patterns and basket weaving designs.  Register at Stranger Tickets.

children making art

If you liked the Arty Party, you’ll love Family Sundays! (photo credit: Marilyn Montufar)

$mall Change: Testing a barter economy

Small Change installation shot

Artist Rebecca Chernow (center) shares her work with Henry guests. Photo credit: Dan Bennett

This post is written by Rebecca Chernow, exhibiting artist in the Test Site and UW School of Art MFA candidate.


$mall Change is a result of my curiosity in home-spun economics and the fiscal and social systems of value, worth, cost, and price that govern our lives and dictate many of the choices that are made by individuals and nations alike.

I wanted to make my own money and cut out all the middlemen, from the bosses to the bankers to the dollar and coin-makers at the Federal Reserve. I want to know if value is something innate or if it is based solely on belief and debate, and if my time can be measured out in small hand-wrought increments by asking what price my energies fetch at open market. Can a new, cohesive economic order emerge from raw material, applied skill, and open engagement?

It has taken me three months of 40+ hour weeks of performing an extremely specific process, many kilowatts of electrical energy, 400 pounds of plaster and silica, many gallons of water, 25 pounds of wax, 25 pounds of glass, and a few ounces of copper powder to mint roughly four thousand coins at the University of Washington’s ceramic and metal arts studio. The coins—called works—are made out of glass in the likeness of the American penny. Now that that portion of the project is over, the goal is to trade every last one of these works away through bartering and exchange of commodities in the Test Site at the Henry.

This is an open call for all interested participants to trade anything handmade, ready-made, perishable, or pocket-size with me until I run out of works to traffic with. The project cannot be fully realized without the willing involvement of strangers with candy, hats, shirts, artworks, knick-knacks, etc., along with an interest to barter and bargain in the name of reciprocity and exchange. All items will be displayed with their ultimate price in the Henry Test Site for the first three weeks of the exhibition. During the final week all items will be available to the public in exchange for a suggested nominal donation to benefit the Henry.

My economy has emerged from disparate bits and volumes of resources, and so too will it disperse through the hands of every person who wishes to buy into this micro-market. There is not much time and very few limitations on this process, so please don’t be shy.

Wynne Greenwood at the Frye

Thursday October 25, 11 am – 7 pm & Friday, October 26, 11 am – 5 pm
Mirrors and Dresser Live Video Recording with Wynne Greenwood
Frye Art Museum
Free Admission and Parking

As part of the programming for the Frye’s new exhibition, Mw [Moment Magnitude]Henry Art Gallery performance artist and Stranger Genius Award Winner Wynne Greenwood will be live video-recording a music video project called Mirrors and Dresser. In this performance, Wynne will be re-creating The Women’s Spa, an installation she originally made in 2011 to explore security, transformation and isolation. The set is intended to encourage the public performance of a private process.

The Frye is also offering anyone who identifies themselves as a Friend of the Henry a 15 percent discount on coffee/espresso drinks during Wynne’s live video recording.

If you haven’t seen Mw [Moment Magnitude] yet or even if you have, these events are not to be missed!

Here is Wynne’s Artist Statement:

About Mirrors and Dresser

 When I think of women’s spas (my own experience with women’s spas being limited to the Olympus Spa in Tacoma, WA), I think of a place to rest, and to witness rest. A space has been created whose function is to allow communal relaxation. Now, that being said, the spa costs a minimum of $35 to enter, and is limited to women who were born with female bodies. From my experience, the majority of customers are white. I mention these details and observations because I’m interested in, and concerned with, who has access to transformative processes, and why.


For Mirrors and Dresser, popular cartoon characters and mythic figures, like Pebbles Flintstone, Betty Boop and Medusa, will hang out in the women’s spa on spa maintenance day, watching each other have a body, holding space for becoming space, and praying for an end to isolation through nostalgia.


Pebbles has been a happy baby for 50 years. Medusa has been the monster for hundreds. How tiring. These are characters we insist upon, myths that we replay again and again. Why? Is it comfortable? Why do we seek comfort? Can we let our icons and our myths change? Can we let even the role or function of “icon” and “myth” change? Did you know Medusa was a mother? She gave birth out of her neck to twins, Pegasus and a giant, as she was beheaded.


I’m choosing these characters to talk about cultural exhaustion. I’m also choosing them to help me perform. To act out and then challenge my own cartoony definitions, to allow performance itself to expand by first exaggerating its boundaries and then letting them relax, stretch out, soak and rest. Not necessarily seeking comfort, but transformation and a more complicated existence.

                                                            –Wynne Greenwood

Exhibition Tour Guide Series: Guest blogger Chelsea Nagayama

Sadly, this past Sunday was the final day for the The Record and The B-Side, which exhibited art, influenced and created with records and record sleeves by local Pacific Northwest artists spanning from Portland to Anacortes, respectively. I personally enjoyed the juxtaposition between the B-Side and The Record because the B-Side showed a current perspective of the local music world’s intersection of audio and visual art, while the The Record showed the past and present influence of records on the art world.  It was super great to gain a deeper understanding of records and music culture by the programs set up during the duration of the exhibit. I got see the record cutting process and even got my own record cut by the amazing dude, Mike Dixon, who was doing a residency with his record company PIAPTK Records. Now, I have my own personal one song record cut into Plexiglas.

I led the Youth Advisory Board from the Experience Music Project (EMP), led by the program’s teacher Jonathan Cunningham, during the final week of the exhibit. The Youth Advisory Board is a program that high school aged youth are working together through their passion for music to drive the involvement of their peers at the EMP. This high school aged group was an ideal group because of their invested relationship with music and their youthful perspective of what records mean to a young viewer during the revival of records as a medium for musicians to produce their music.

The EMP student’s will be acting as tour guides for the EMP in the future and actually pulled inspiration for their video wall, which displays music videos of past and present artists. Students jotted down names of local musicians to research so they could create a local perspective for their music video wall display. A theme these bright students really understood was the aspect of time in the exhibit. Time is represented by the ephemeral quality of the record’s vinyl material, the way listeners interact with a record player and how a record must be played through, and the nostalgia and reference to the past records have.

An activity I did with this group, that I encourage you all to do, is to choose a record sleeve of an artist you have never heard before and describe what you think the artist sounds like based on the cover art. Then, play the record and compare your previous thoughts with what you hear. It’s a really interesting activity to understand and consider the dynamic relationship of audio and visual art. The EMP group chose Black Candy. The album cover is black with white messy cursive writing of Black Candy and a quintessential piece of sugary cellophane wrapped candy drawn expressively with squiggles.  The EMP group suggested it would sounds metal, maybe hardcore, and that there was definitely going to be an edge. The sound was less metal and more grunge than they imagined. Go have fun and explore the recently booming record world, or better yet find a gem from the 70’s or 80’s!

I hope you all had the chance to check out The Record and The B-Side because the Henry is sad to see it leave, but new exhibitions Now Here is also Nowhere and Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell are opening on October 26th. The Henry will be having an Open House that night from 7-10 pm for the public, so come out, enjoy art, and party on!