Hugo House Writers on Katinka Bock

The Henry was delighted to host a Hugo House workshop during winter quarter. This is the second story we have received from the class, you can read the first here.

Many thanks to the Henry for hosting our Hugo House class for a third time! - Anca Szilágyi, Hugo House Instructor

Hugo House class meeting at the Henry for inspiration on their writing.

Hugo House instructor Anca Szilágyi’s (pictured) class meeting at the Henry for inspiration on their writing. Image credit Chona Kasinger


A piece inspired by the Henry exhibition Katinka Bock: A and I


The Bodhisattva of the Sea by Jenelle Birnbaum

Enshrined in a temple made of glass resides an enchanted sculpture. Shaped by life, a piece of driftwood, cracked and darkened with age, rests on an equally tarnished steel beam. The local townspeople refer to the sculpture as the Bodhisattva of the Sea.

High on her perch over the town, she watches, spreading her preternatural calm over the village below. Crowds gather to feel the serene energy she emanates; townspeople write her letters seeking wisdom, hoping her calm is contagious. Yet, as much as she is a part of the town, no one knows her origin. Her creation remains a subject of local lore.

Some attribute her birth to a great tidal wave. They say that before the wave, the wood and steel lived as a couple of local healers – the wood personifying the feminine; the steel the masculine. The pious couple tried to live by example, shunning materialism, desire and malice. The rest of the town, either joyfully oblivious or lazily stubborn, continued their misguided ways. The gods tried to intervene, asking the healers to deliver warnings. When that failed, the deities sent a series of plagues to cause deprivation. Droughts to ruin their crops, wildfires to destroy the once abundant food sources. Yet, the town, too obstinate to believe the punishment resulted from their excesses, carried on as before. Exasperated, the gods sent a giant tidal wave to destroy the corrupt town. To commemorate the devout couple’s lives, they were immortalized as a sculpture, a beacon towards which the town’s next generation could orient their lives.

Another popular tale tells of love gone wrong. Man and woman fell in love; woman was betrothed to another. Just as she was putting on her wedding dress, an empathetic god intervened, transforming the almost bride into a piece of driftwood and her love into a steel beam. Arranged as a graceful sculpture, blessed with an eternity spent together, they’ve become a modern totem of love.

The town’s most spiritual believe that a creature as ethereal as she could only be the incarnation of the soul’s journey through life. Put here to remind others that life is lived in layers. That these layers vacillate between joy and pain, that in the pain, pieces of our soul are chipped away. That in the calm between, we work to retrieve these misplaced pieces of our soul. The deep gouges and darkened stains on the wood, the swirling kaleidoscope of rust on the beam, remind us that there is beauty in the pain. That these times leave their mark just as deeply as the easier times, and perhaps even more so. For through the suffering we heal. We grow. What people so callously dismiss as blemishes, we call marks of character.

The bodhisattva’s understated beauty and graceful balance comforts the townspeople. For, like a bodhisattva, this supremely spiritual being remains among the people, guiding them through life, reminding them that there is light in the dark.


Wish you had taken the class? Check out this article series on writing prompts from Anca:

Writing prompts on:
Overheard Conversation at a Museum

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Speaking of stretchers and bodies, how about some yoga and a murder mystery?


Get stretched with Julia Greenway at the Henry this week.


Thursday, April 17, 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Stretch your boundaries and join us for an invigorating engagement with art led by Julia Greenway. More info.

Screening: Laura

Friday, April 18 7:00 – 9:00 PM

The last film in our winter season line-up is Rotten Tomatoes certified as 100% Fresh and has this to say:

Tough New York detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the killing, methodically questioning the chief suspects: Waspish columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), wastrel socialite Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), and Carpenter’s wealthy “patroness” Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson). The deeper he gets into the case, the more fascinated he becomes by the enigmatic Laura, literally falling in love with the girl’s painted portrait. To tell any more would rob the reader of the sheer enjoyment of watching this stylish film noir unfold on screen.

Get your tickets here.


Spring Open House @ the Henry Tomorrow!

open house

OH yeah! It’s time to party.


Art, artists, performances and conversations…


Kate Wallich performs at the Fall Open House.

Guests enjoy the Contemporaries Lounge at the Fall Open House.


We know how to dish up quite an experience.

CAKE + ICE CREAM!  Photo by Dan Bennett

What will we serve you this time?
all photos by Dan Bennett


Kick-off Spring right – with the Henry!

TOMORROW! 7:00 – 10:00 PM

FREE for Members
$15 for Students, Seniors, UW Faculty, and Staff
$20 General Public

From the popular Student Henry Advisory Group‘s photo booth (check out past SHAG photos) to tours of exhibitions to live performances we have the party you don’t want to miss. Drinks from Pyramid Breweries, beats from KEXP DJ Sharlese Metcalf and food will be available to purchase from the delicious NOSH food  truck.

We invite our Patrons and Contemporaries to come for a special cocktail hour at 6 pm. At 7 pm, doors open to all!



The Week Ahead @ Henry

Mindfulness Meditation

Join us for thirty minutes to ease out of winter and come fully into spring. Seattle Times photographer Ken Lambert joined us last month – click on the image to see what he thought.

Photo courtesy of The Seattle Times

An Evening of Art and Conversation: Northwest Art and Artists

The Henry and the Junior League of Seattle bring you an evening of art and conversation about the rich history of Northwest art. Artworks by Northwest artists from the Henry’s collection will be on view in the Eleanor Henry Reed Collection Study Center. You get tickets here.

open house

OH yeah! It’s time to party!

Spring Open House

Music will be powered by KEXP DJ Sharlese Metcalf and each guest will receive two drink tickets with general admission (Thanks, Pyramid Breweries!). NOSH food truck will have a delicious bites available for purchase.

We invite our Patrons and Contemporaries to come for a special cocktail hour at 6 pm. At 7 pm, doors open to all! Get tickets!

A young guest at the 2013 Arty Party. Photo credit: Marilyn Montufar

A young guest at the 2013 Arty Party. Photo credit: Marilyn Montufar

ARTventures: Something Old, Something New

There will be some borrowing, some sharing, and some art-making for the whole family this Sunday inspired by the work of 2014 Brink Award Winner, Anne Fenton. Reserve your tickets now!

Hugo House writers at the Henry

The Henry was delighted to host a Hugo House workshop last quarter and we hope you enjoy the fruits of their labors.


This winter, we wrote monologues for Danny Lyons: The Bikeriders, contemplated the potential for Sanctum to change lives, and imagined abstract sculptures from Katinka Bock: A & I as people and even as shrines. In the Reed Study Center, we endeavored to unearth multiple perspectives on paintings, photographs, collages, and textiles, from the points of view of children, philosophers, art critics, and mythic and historic figures. We heard from a real live artist, Haegue Yang, whose process inspired Amber Murray’s excerpt below.

Many thanks to the Henry for hosting our Hugo House class for a third time! - Anca Szilágyi, Hugo House Instructor

Hugo House class meeting at the Henry for inspiration on their writing.

Hugo House instructor Anca Szilágyi’s (pictured) class meeting at the Henry for inspiration on their writing. Image credit Chona Kasinger



Excerpt about the Henry exhibition Haegue Yang: Anachronistic Layers of Dispersion


Thoughts on abstract thought and the practice of moving things around until they sit just right
By Amber Murray

I cried when I saw Michelangelo’s Pieta, a retrospective on Per Kirkeby, an exhibit on John Singer Sargent, and I could go on. I felt the loss. I felt the weight of their particular nuanced existential terror, and it was absolutely beautiful. I did not know these people, but I somehow knew what they were getting at. I could pick up their intention by casting my gaze over their chosen medium. Michelangelo started with a piece of carrera and shaped it into what some call his masterpiece. The folds of Mary’s gown flow over her legs forming a cradle for her dead son who lays in her lap. The figures are disproportionate – Jesus is small in comparison to Mary, but bears all the signs of a full grown man. Mary’s youth and gaze are pure grace as she looks down at the son of god resting peacefully in her lap. The marble glows from within. Death looks beautiful and sweet.

How did he do this? Haegue Yang might say practice. She is an artist who starts with an idea, then picks it apart through a very precise and personalized process of articulation. Instead of a piece of stone, Yang’s medium is the horizontal venetian blind. Each time she begins a work she asks herself “am I going to push myself over the edge?” – which I take to mean, is she going to push her mind to that abstract place of shaping form to align with a particular idea. And she does it. Usually by creating a sense of loss instead of gaining – with window coverings. I realize she is not the first person to do this. To take a common object and place it in a different environment to give it new meaning – but the precision of the idea communicated, that is what sticks with me.

installation image credit: R. J. Sanchez

installation image credit: R. J. Sanchez

What I noticed first upon entering Yang’s “Towers on String” was the delicacy – delicate strings suspend delicate rows of colored aluminum strips. Hovering, floating, cascading, from above to create a lightly formed space within a space – more like confetti captured in mid-party-surprise than anything else. But add a layer of precision and craft and there you have it. Colors and shadows and blades, all linear in form align and dis-align over one another in a mercurial polarized play. The structure, not obvious to me at first glance, is hidden deep in an armature of octagonal joints. The patterns I see are referenced in my mind to a bevy of cross cultural vernacular textile traditions, the black blinds make me think of a bachelor pad, I think of how much dust they collect and how with every apartment unit I have ever lived in I have taken then down and stashed them in a closet. Overall, I read the piece as a commentary on the attempt or oscillation of privacy that can occur as a rich modern-life-story plays out.

Read more


Wish you had taken the class? Check out this article series on writing prompts from Anca:

Writing prompts on:
Overheard Conversation at a Museum

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Stop in this Thursday to experience music from performers from the UW School of Music. Enjoy these images of past events in this Luncheonette series every third Thursday at noon.

Music fills the Henry.  Photo by P. Dawn Keenen

Jazz with Haegue Yang
Photo by P. Dawn Keenen

Brass section in Katinka Bocke Photo by Chona Kassinger

Brass section in Katinka Bocke
Photo by Chona Kasinger


Our Spring Open House is next Friday — get your tickets now!


open house

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 @ Henry

Spring made it to campus just in time for the new quarter to start! We hope that with this week’s focus on art and education you are inspired, too!

Photo by Delaney Cerna courtesy the University of Washington

Photo by Delaney Cerna courtesy the University of Washington

Henry Spring Educator Preview

Thursday, March 27, 4:00 – 8:00 PM

Join the Henry’s education staff on a tour of the possibilities for your classroom. From creative writing lessons to modeled tours, let us show you how we can become a part of your classroom. This event for local educators is not to be missed!

INCITE•INSIGHT: Lecture with Pablo Helguera

Thursday, March 27, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

New York-based artist Pablo Helguera (Mexico City, 1971) will discuss how his work as an educator has intersected with his artistic interests and how his work often reflects on issues of interpretation, dialogue, and the role of contemporary culture in a global reality. This is the final lecture in the INCITE*INSIGHT series partnership with the Henry and Cornish College of the Arts.

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 Week Ahead @ Henry

It’s St. Patrick’s Day! Do you know where your leprechaun is?


Stretch your limbs in an immersive video experience. Join us Thursday at 12:30 for VIDEO//YOGA with Julia Greenway.

Screening: No More Road Trips?

Friday, March 21, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Home movie time! But not your old embarrassing ones, don’t worry. Director Rick Prelinger invites you on NO MORE ROAD TRIPS? (2013, 80 min.), a dream ride through 20th-century America made from 9,000 home movies, asking whether we’ve come to the end of the open road.

Collection in Focus: The Problem with Objects

Examining a selection of sculpture from the Henry’s permanent collection, Artist and Cornish Professor Ephraim Russell will lead a conversation about contemporary sculpture, exploring how cultural expectations around utility and the function of objects define the way we value and respond to sculpture.

Space is limited. Please RSVP by March 18 to

Workshop: Reenactment and Public Content Source

French-born artist Melanie Valera (AKA Tender Forever) will discuss the importance of reenactment, referential replication, recycled narration, and simulacrum through a selective showing of found videos this coming Sunday, March 23, 12:00 – 4:00 PM. Here’s a sample of her work: