The Road is ON with Molly Mac (part 1)

Today’s post is the first of three written by artist Molly Mac, who will be your host/tour guide/performer for “How to get THERE (the Dam) from HERE (Seattle) with Molly Mac.”

I’m a 31 year old woman. I live in Seattle, and I drive a 1998 Camry.

The Grand Coulee Dam is a gravity dam. It is the largest electric power producing facility in the United States and it irrigates 671,000 acres of farmland in Washington.

yellow voice is my normal voice
green voice gives advice
blue voice tells facts
pink voice exposes (me)

This is a tour that runs from HERE (the Henry) to THERE (the Grand Coulee Dam):



It’s looping, just like your mind (my mind) loops on a road trip.
Scan in with a QR code reader on your phone to catch a stop- there are 18 total.

I’ll explain everything.

you’ll see I have two heroes- the artist Eva Hesse and the Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard
you’ll see the inside of my Camry
you’ll see I’m concerned with electrolyte balance
you’ll see I’m trying to apply basic grammar lessons to glacial geography, shame, and my kidneys
you’ll see my Google search history
you’ll see circles crammed into squares (reduced to pixels)
you’ll see the practical driving directions
eventually you’ll see the Grand Coulee Dam.


And then you’ll actually drive there.
You should meet me at the Dam on August 2nd at 9:15pm to watch the official laser light show.

After the laser show, we’ll split up and stay overnight in local hotels/campgrounds. Then on August 3rd we’ll all get up, look at the Dam again, and eat bagels together. Then we will drive back from THERE (the Dam) to HERE (Seattle), doing the tour in reverse.

I’ll explain EVERYTHING again, but backwards – and I’ll have help. A team of performers will spread out along all 18 stops and explain:

the practical driving directions
the circles crammed into squares (reduced to pixels)
the Google search history
the grammar lessons applied to glacial geography, shame, and kidneys
the concern for electrolyte balance
the inside of the Camry
the heroes- artist Eva Hesse and the Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard

And then you’ll be back in Seattle.




The event is $10. Please book your ticket to receive a more detailed timeline and travel info, and because space is limited, and you’ll need to make a plan to camp and book a place to stay soon.






The Week Ahead @ Henry

Hello, June. Is Summer here yet?


The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Henry Gallery Association

Thursday, June 5, 4:45 – 6:00 PM

The Annual Meeting is a time to share and celebrate what we have accomplished over the past year with our valued members, Board of Trustees, and the community. We will also present information about upcoming Henry programs, exhibitions, and initiatives. This meeting is free and open to the public.


Mirror Check by Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas. Mirror Piece I. 1969. Chromogenic color print. Collection of the artist. Photo: Paul Hester.

Mirror Check

Thursday, June 5, 6:00 pm

Sunday, June 8, 2:30 pm - LAST CHANCE

These are the last two performances in this series so don’t miss your chance to see this groundbreaking work! In Mirror Check, a performer uses a small, round hand-held mirror to inspect all visible parts of her exposed body. Mirror Check — one of Jonas’ earliest works — marks an important theoretical and artistic turning point in her practice, when mirrors cease to be a material utilized in her sculptures and become actual instruments in her live performances.

Performances of “Mirror Check” start Tonight

The Henry, in partnership with Velocity Dance Center, is proud to announce a series of performances of Joan Jonas’ Mirror Check.

It was a logical development and kind of abstraction of a solo work, standing nude in front of an audience, examining one’s own body with a mirror very slowly. It’s a very simple piece. There is the stipulation that it has to be done by women because that’s how it was originally performed and seen, and meant to be seen because it’s about a woman looking at her own body, having control of that gaze. – Joan Jonas

Mirror Check by Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas. Mirror Piece I. 1969. Chromogenic color print. Collection of the artist. Photo: Paul Hester.

Mirror Check, a performance based on the 1970 work of the same name by Jonas, will be performed in the galleries for the final six weeks of Parallel Practices: Joan Jonas & Gina Pane at the Henry. In Mirror Check, a performer uses a small, round hand-held mirror to inspect all visible parts of her exposed body. Mirror Check — one of Jonas’ earliest works — marks an important theoretical and artistic turning point in her practice, when mirrors cease to be a material utilized in her sculptures and become actual instruments in her live performances.

Check our website for performance dates and the details of Mirror Check.

Please note: This performance features nudity.

Jellyfish Eyes and Japan’s Monster Culture

Please enjoy the this guest post on our upcoming screening of Jellyfish Eyes by writer/scholar Zack Davisson.

The Henry is honored to be one of nine host art institutions across the USA to host these screenings the first weekend of May. Jellyfish Eyes (Mememe No Kurage) [still].

Japan loves monsters. They write books about monsters, draw comics about monsters, make movies about monsters, and even name their foods after monsters. Whether it is from the magical menagerie of Japan’s traditional yōkai or the post-war, towering beasts of destruction like Godzilla, Gamera, or Ultraman; or the endless parade of modern Pokemon (which translates into English as Pocket Monster); Japanese children are weaned on monsters. They find these strange beasts as friendly of companions as American children find Snoopy and Yoda. It comes as no surprise that one of Japan’s premier modern artists, Takashi Murakami, loves monsters, too.

Murakami has always included monsters in his artwork. When he was searching for an artistic style free of Western influence—something “uniquely Japanese”—he found was he was looking for in Japan’s monsters. His Superflat* exhibitions summoned all of Japan’s monsters, from the distant Heian period prints to the garish extravaganza of modern pop culture, and smashed them together into an organic style that speaks both of Murakami and Japan.

In his first film Jellyfish Eyes, Murakami again summons monsters. They are monsters of his own creation but with a nod to two fellow Japanese artists in particular—Shigeru Mizuki and Toru Narita. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Murakami states that Jellyfish Eyes is “… inspired by ‘a manga called GeGeGe no Kitaro’ from the 1960s,” a comic that “accidentally formed the basis for the rest of [his] life.” In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he expands, saying “My life is heavily influenced by two television shows – Ultraman [1966-1967] and Ultra Seven [1967-68] – because of the artists behind them, especially the Ultraman series artistic designer Toru Narita.”

Murakami is in good company. These artists—Takashi Murakami, Kitaro-creator Shigeru Mizuki, and Ultraman-designer Toru Narita—are torch-bearers of Japan’s monster culture. Shigeru Mizuki rescued Japan’s folkloric yōkai monsters from the ashes of WWII, recasting them as down-to-earth working class heroes with very human motivations and adventures. Mizuki is a mix of the sacred and the profane, pursuing serious scholarly research into yōkai for his Yōkai Encyclopedias, all the while injecting his comic Kitaro with his own earthy sense of humor—fart jokes and all. Toru Narita dove into the future for his monsters, more inspired by the American Buck Rogers and alien attacks than mythical yōkai. He gave the children of Japan a sense of hope for the future and a much needed escape during a time of social upheaval and transformation.

These three artists are also not content delivering mere entertainment. Mizuki turned his beloved Kitaro characters into history teachers, brutally confronting Japan with its own past in his comic series Showa: A History of Japan. Narita also used his monsters to personify social problems, creating physical manifestations of complex issues for Ultraman to smash. In the same way, Murakami promises that Jellyfish Eyes will use the approachable, familiar, and friendly faces of these cute little monsters to educate the children of Japan about concepts as grim as the inevitability of death and the certainty of periodic failure.

And, I have no doubt, at the same time Murakami will inspire a new generation of Japanese monster-lovers to carry their strange beasts into the future.


See Murakami’s Jellyfish Eyes this weekend at Henry Art Gallery – get tickets here.


*”Superflat” is a term coined by Murakami to describe the way various forms of graphic design, pop culture, and fine arts are compressed or flattened in Japan. Want to learn more? Join us at 6pm on May 2nd, before the 7pm screening of Jellyfish Eyes, for “Collections in Focus: Superflat” with UW Associate Professor James Thurtle for a FREE conversation and viewing of works from our collection. Thurtle will make connections between Murakami’s work, manga, anime, and the ‘flat’ images of 17th, 18th and 19-century Japanese printmakers.


Zack Davisson is a translator, writer, and scholar of Japanese folklore, ghosts, and manga. He is the author of Yurei: The Japanese Ghost and the translator of Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan. He also created the popular Japanese folklore website Hyakumionogatari Kaidankai.

Found on the Internet: Tender Forever this Sunday at the Henry

We caught up with French-born artist Melanie Valera (AKA Tender Forever) to get her thoughts on busking, her favorite coffee, and advice for doing your art. Tender Forever will be conducting a workshop on Reenactment and Public Content Source this Sunday from noon to 4 pm to explore re-enactment, recycled narration, and other topics by using found video on the internet.

Photo courtesy of Tender Forever

Henry: First off, since this is Seattle and we love our coffee, who do you think makes the best cup from all the places you have traveled?

Tender Forever: One reason why I love America is because you’re all so nerdy about almost everything you get into. France is NOT. France is very simple. Simple food, simple cooking, simple coffee (contrarily to what most people think). The coffee isn’t that great. It’s thrown together. They don’t even know what coffee they use, where it was roasted and all that. They don’t care whether it tastes like leather or Skittles. They are just gonna make you a tiny coffee for one euro. They’re not going to ask you how you’re doing so you don’t stay too long. And NO you can’t take it to go. I like that about France, a lot. Italy has got GOOD coffee. But the best one I’ve had was in Spain for sure — only because I ordered it in Spanish. But if there was a decision to make between Portland or Seattle, hands down Olympia has the best coffee. Bar Francis it’s where it’s at.

Henry: Ah, Olympia, Love the hometown pride. How did you end up on this side of the pond?

Tender Forever: In 2004, I was busking on the streets of Bordeaux, France. I sold all my belongings and in April 2005 I bought a plane ticket with the money. I think I had $20 left after I bought the ticket. I still don’t know how I allowed myself to travel to a foreign land with $20. I played a few shows down the West coast with Khaela Maricich from The Blow and Squeeze Me I Squeak. I remember burning CD after CD after the shows. People would wait for their CD to come out of the toaster and I’d get $10 for it. That’s how I started! Our last show was in Olympia at the world’s smallest venue ever. Basically an attic. Ten people came. Calvin Johnson came. I didn’t really know who the dude was; I knew K Records, but not that Calvin was the studio. After the show he asked me if I had a CD. I didn’t.

Next night I was still in Olympia and we ended up at the same show. I guess he had gotten a CD from someone else. He asked me if I wanted to record. We pushed my departure date further and I recorded my first LP at Dub Narcotic Studios in Olympia in 2005. Then I went on my first real tour with him and played over 50 shows together. It was, of course, life-changing. I love [Calvin] dearly. Thinking back on that experience and history, it’s pretty amazing that a human can travel so far, change the course of their life, and end up in an amazing place like the Henry to talk about reenactment and representation. Anything I get to do, I always feel so privileged. You know? Everything is a step on a stairway to the next step. I think it’s important for me to remember that my capacities and skills are extremely flexible and unlimited. My mum set that role model for me. You can do anything you want if you want.

Henry: What advice would you give to someone thinking of busking?

Tender Forever: Remember when you were a tiny kid and you are playing hide and seek. You thought that because you covered your eyes with your hands no one will find you? So you’d just stand there, with your hands on your eyes thinking you’ve disappeared. Apply that to playing in the streets. It’s perfect.

Photo courtesy of Tender Forever

Henry: Why the transition from busking to music production to performing at galleries and museums?

Tender Forever:  I would really love to shift my performance work entirely to broader horizons. Being perceived solely as a musician isn’t what I’ve always envisioned. Art institutions, art galleries, less traditional venues are by far the places I would like to collaborate more with. I think we all have multiple careers, multiple mind set ups, and we can overcome the fear of perfectness, especially when tied to art. I can do anything and I can play anywhere.

I’ve actually never shown solely visual art before. It has always been music, media, and performance art together. I couldn’t have performed without playing and vice versa. I really liked the engagement of the crowd in the stories I tell. I like the feeling of people eating out of the giant hand of fake narrative and rewriting stories in their head. Using all the means necessary and available to me when walking in a new venue in order to engage the crowd remains the best part of creating performances. I like high energy. I like dense content. I like realness. I like janky and wonky things and I like unveiling magic tricks. That’s a lot of possibilities. So when I walk into a venue, I shake hands, but mainly I want to go in the back rooms and find “the weird things.” I’ve borrowed curtains before, couches, shoes, clothing, food, etc. Each venue is a little universe and I want to discover what it has to offer and what it will also take from me. I’m interested in that odd trade.

Henry: Speaking of finding the weird to use in your art – where have you found the pieces you will use this Sunday?

Tender Forever: I’m actually always trying to break out of the classic ways to get to new content. It’s not easy but mainly, I use people’s blog, comments, threads on odd blogs. Through that process, I’ve developed an interest in the ways that people research the content they’re after. I think the brain path and the personal stories to what pushes people to research or post certain content is the most fascinating part. No one can access another’s brain, at least not yet. Google is my go-to for general research and then I have my secret spots which I will keep secret.

Henry: We’ll let you unveil your secrets on Sunday. Thank you for catching up with us!

Join us Sunday for Workshop: Reenactment and Public Content Source with Tender Forever.


The History of Hausu

We thank Zack Davisson, writer and Japanese folklore scholar, for this guest post on our upcoming screening Hausu.

Flying vampire heads popping out of wells. A massive, shape-shifting cat. The corpse of an unloved woman wrecking ghostly revenge. For modern viewers, Nobukiko Obayashi’s 1977 film House may be a brain-melting tour of a psychedelic fever dream, but Edo-period kabuki fans would have barely fluttered an eyelash. They had seen it all before. Because, if you look past the movie’s flashy visuals and attack storytelling you will uncover a secret; House is a traditional Japanese ghost story.

Hausu (1977)

Hausu (1977)

For a movie so often hailed as avant-garde and experimental, House is a throwback, a retrograde. In an interview, Obayashi rejects the idea that House is even a horror film. More correctly, Obayashi says, House belongs to the genre called kaii (怪異). If you have never heard of that, don’t feel bad. Roughly translating as “strange events,” kaii was a popular genre about two hundred years ago—during the Edo-period kaidan boom.

From 1603 to 1876, Japan was addicted to kaidan (怪談; weird tales). Every conceivable artistic and entertainment medium, from painting to literature to sculpting to theater, produced works of the strange and mysterious. Kabuki theater in particular—with its sensation of gaudy, over-the-top artifice—fed the audience’s lust for blood and spectacle.

Writers and directors like Tsuruya Nanboku IV pandered to baser instincts, and delivered up some of the most bizarre, outrageous, and gory bits of ghost lore ever created. Under Nanboku IV’s hand, the kabuki stage transformed into a wild world of ghosts soaring on wires over exploding fire pots, flying vampire heads, giant fire-breathing frogs, and shape-changing cats known as bakeneko, working their mysterious kaidan magic.

Obayashi followed Kabuki’s lead, favoring the artificial over Western naturalism. House dives head-first into Grand Guignol and spectacle. And the film’s dynamic imagery is wrapped tightly around an even more traditional core.

At the heart of most kaidan—and House—is urami (恨み). Translating into English as grudge, urami comes from a Shinto/Buddhist idea where the soul is bound to Earth by unfulfilled desires. These desires can be anything—unrequited love, unexpressed gratitude, unfinished business—but it becomes meat for storytellers when coupled with resentment. A person who dies with a grudge-bearing soul infects like a plague.

House’s urami is a classic example of an obake yashiki tale. Roughly meaning “haunted house,” obake yashiki stories tell of possessed mansions inhabited by unquiet spirits. Like the Poltergeist of Tajima, obake yashiki manifest any number of ghostly phenomena from rattling windows to monsters. They are random; chaotic; terrifying. But always at the center is a single, tormented soul.  Digging through these layers of horror, trying to find the curse underneath, is always part of the fun.

And just think; in 1975 when Toho studios hired Obayashi they asked him to make something like Jaws. Instead, he delivered one of the most bizarre, original—and traditional—works of cinema ever to come out of Japan.

Join us January 3rd at 7 pm at a screening of Hausu in the Henry Auditorium.

Zack Davisson is a translator, writer, and scholar of Japanese folklore, ghosts, and manga. He is the author of The Ghost of Oyuki and the translator of Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan. He also created the popular Japanese folklore website Hyakumionogatari Kaidanka.

Henry Behind the Scenes: Circuit Training with Lacy Draper

Artist and recent UW MFA graduate Lacy Draper is offering an unusual experience at the Henry this weekend: an exercise series in which participants physically interact with our exhibitions.

Conditioning the Conditioned MFA Thesis Show by Lacy Draper

Lacy designed her MFA thesis show to fill the Henry’s unique architecture.
Photo by Lacy Draper

Conditioning the Conditioned MFA Thesis Show by Lacy Draper

Lacy’s sculpture was an interpretation of a strong man’s log as featured in her accompanying video piece at the MFA show.
Photo by Lacy Draper

Lacy came in last week to discuss the similarities and differences between the piece she showed the 2013 MFA + MDes Exhibition this past spring and her new interactive series Circuit Training.

Henry: Thanks for joining us, Lacy. Let’s start with your MFA Thesis, what is Conditioning the Conditioned?

Lacy:  The show featured video and sculpture using the specific architecture of the building. The relationship between instruction and construction, and the process in which it is filtered through in the form of performance serves as a stimulant for my work. I am drawn particularly to social construction; it’s routine conditioning to conform one to reality, which is also a manifestation of conditioning. The video portion focused on repetitive movements and how to reduce them as shown by myself and old footage of strongman competitions.

Henry: From my understanding, Circuit Training also makes use of repetitive movements as well, what is involved in the set-up of Circuit Training?

Lacy: For my MFA I created the experience to be left and experienced in the Henry over time. Circuit Training is a bit more intangible. No equipment to set-up or store. I am here in person to lead discussion and repetitive movement as a way to physically engage people in other artists’ exhibitions. It’s all a huge experiment.

Henry: Has this been very different for you than creating sculpture and video? What are the main differences?

Lacy: I have enjoyed making in this new way and am excited to see what’s next. Each week I choose a focus piece from each of the four main exhibitions. Then I select a repetitive movement that I feel represents the exhibition. At each of the exhibitions we spend a few minutes talking, then a few minutes repeating the motion.

Henry: What are you hoping people take away from this experience?

Lacy: How they document their experience in the space. How does their body feel and how did it affect their relationship to the art – do they blame David Hartt for being sore now? I want them to notice what’s happening in their body during the movement or maybe tomorrow if they are sore and say “That David Hartt was hard.”

Henry: It looks like you got your wish – we got this feedback already from Facebook:

Dudes… go check this out! Lacy’s workout is fun, thoughtful, creative, and leaves your body feeling more viscerally connected to the art work you view together. She invites you to experience and learn about the work in a more kinetic/embodied and deeper way.

Lacy: That’s great!

Henry: Thanks for joining us, Lacy, and we look forward to hearing more from attendees after this week’s session of Circuit Training.

Lacy: Thank you, Henry, for letting me experiment and having me back! I enjoy working with you.

Join Lacy this Sunday and experience Circuit Training for yourself! Sign up HERE.


Check out her other work on Flickr.

The Week Ahead @ The Henry

Imagine yourself in a futuristic urban dystopia…there is a hero, a villain, and a virtuous maiden. There is thwarted love, teeth-gnashing, and a robot. This, friends, is Fritz Lang’s marvelous 1927 German expressionist film “Metropolis” and the Henry is screening it this Friday at 7 pm in our auditorium. And if that isn’t enough, the film (also considered to be the first science fiction film) will be accompanied by a new live musical score by Seattle experimental music collective GRID. Tickets are limited (and extremely reasonably priced) – get yours now!



Also on Friday, is a throatsinging workshop with Arrington de Dionyso. Did you catch his lecture last week? In this two-hour workshop, you’ll learn more about this ancient technique and, perhaps, find your own shamanistic ecstasy.



Plus, we’re still going strong with our summer Bike Friday program! Ride your bike to the Henry and get in FREE!

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


Pablo Helguera



Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist who works with a wide variety of mediums including performance, sculpture, and photography that often engages social issues and also is the director of adult and academic programs at MoMA. Helguera is an exhibiting artist in the newly opened Now Here is also Nowhere: Part II which opened on Saturday. His classical cartoons are featured regularly on NPR’s Scherzo blog. He is also behind the newly launched series of artist-led participatory programs at MoMA called Artists Experiment.

This Friday musicians will perform Endingness here at the Henry Art Gallery in conjunction with Now Here is Also Nowhere: Part II.  Endingness is a composition for chamber orchestra designed to be performed together with the last movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Farewell symphony. This performance is but one component of Helguera’s three-part work, on view in the exhibition, and consists of three interrelated elements: a musical composition, a reconfigurable sculpture made of framed beeswax and an essay exploring themes of mortality, memory, art, and endings.

Friday, February 1st
7 pm
Get your tickets HERE.