Henry Behind the Scenes: Visiting the Eleanor Reed Collection Study Center

This is a guest blog post by Dawn Cerny, artist and Cornish Faculty, who recently visited the Henry’s Reed Collection Study Center with her students.

For most artists a trip to an art museum is a means to see and understand materials, scale, color, texture, and thinking in a way that is impossible to do from a reproduction. Yet, in most institutions, your ability to get close to the work can be mediated by vitrines, framing, and security devises that make it difficult to see a work.  Museums are a wonderful resource for studying the work of artist and the Study Center at the Henry is an incredibly helpful resource for getting closer to the work in order to understand how it is doing what it is doing.


Students getting an up-close view of artwork in the Reed Study Center

I can cruise through the online database for objects that relate to material, thematic, or technical subjects I am teaching in class, then send my requests to Rachael Faust (who is Assistant Curator of Collections and manages the Study Center) and show up with my class, a few weeks later, to get incredibly close to examples of what I am talking about in the classroom.

It’s one thing to see a photo of an Elsa Schiaparelli dress in a book; but when you are able to look at that same dress in person, you start to comprehend that even the buttons and hand-stitched beadwork are part of a larger narrative the garment is exploring. There is something to be said for looking at a Rembrandt drypoint with a magnifying glass and seeing where he too was using hesitant marks to try and figure out the form and composition.

The Study Center acts as a wonderful satellite classroom. Faust has a tremendous working relationship with the collection and she is committed to contextualizing the objects within time, medium, or landscape. Student questions are met with enthusiasm and curiosity—if Faust doesn’t have a ready answer she will help guide a student to the answer as best she can.

My students come away from our trips to the collection buzzing with ideas and the general feeling that they have witnessed a work of art behind the curtains of the institution. I think the Study Center also serves young artists by helping them begin to comprehend the amount of labor and education that goes into taking care of a work of art decade after decade—especially in relation to their own emerging practice. It is an important part of their education that they begin to comprehend the things that artist make are in relation with larger conversations and academic dialogs—and that what they do in their studio practices matter to other people and have larger consequences.

The Henry’s Eleanor Reed Collection Study Center is open to individuals and groups of 30 or less by advance appointment. Up to 20 objects from the collection may be requested for study per visit. Study Center hours are Tuesday–Friday from 9 am–5 pm. A limited number of evening appointments between 5-9 pm are available on Thursdays and Fridays. To make an appointment, contact Study Center staff at 206.616.9630 or contact collections@henryart.org.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Is it already the end of February? Does that mean spring is around the corner? We hope!

Come join us this week for a great line up of events.

Art Break Tour

Take a break Wednesday at noon and join us for a 30-minute lunchtime tour through Katinka Bock: A and I. This month’s faculty Art Break tour will be led by Kim England, Professor of Geography and Adjunct Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.

installation image

installation image: R.J. Sánchez


Critical Collaboration Session: Natural Systems

Only a few sessions left! This Thursday we explore natural systems while using Seattle’s Aurora Avenue as a point of departure. Through the lens of design, attendees will publicly address issues of identity, place, and civic infrastructure.

Artist Lecture: Jennifer West

Thursday night artist Jennifer West will lecture on her work. West makes 16mm, 35mm, and 70mm films by manipulating the film celluloid to a level of performance. The film emulsion might be doused with perfume, alcohol, mascara, or pepper spray, skateboarded on, kissed, or dragged through tar pits. West’s practice is characteristically influenced by urban mythology, folklore, and popular culture, and often addresses issues of the body, of gender, and of self-presentation.

This annual series is organized by the UW School of Art, in  conjunction with the Nebula Project, to accompany the course Art 361/595 Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice.

Due to the popularity of this series, we encourage you to RSVP. Doors open at 6:15 pm and seating is first come first served for those with reserved tickets. All unclaimed seats will be released at 6:50 pm. If you were unable to RSVP, please come by the front desk as a limited number of standby tickets will be made available 10 minutes prior to the lecture.

Screening: Stemple Pass

Friday night is movie night – join us at 7 pm for Stemple Passthe last installment in a series of films by James Benning made in relation to cabins he built in the Sierra Nevada. His two cabins are replicas: one of the retreat described by Henry David Thoreau in Walden and the other of the hideout of Ted Kaczynski, the notorious Unabomber.

Blank Page, White Cloth: The 2014 Henry Gala in Photos

We set the stage….

Photo credit: Chona Kasinger

A view of the dining room
Photo credit: Chona Kasinger

We welcomed our friends….

Photo credit: Robert Wade

Lisa Romney, UW President Michael Young, Marti Young, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Michael Shiosaki
Photo credit: Robert Wade

We welcomed our guest of honor Ann Hamilton….

Photo credit: Chona Kasinger

Bill and Ruth True with artist Ann Hamilton
Photo credit: Chona Kasinger

We loved your style…

Photo credit: Wade Robert

Look at those “white possibles”!
Photo credit: Robert Wade

We partied….

Photo credit: Marilyn Montufar

Tom Ackerman, Jody Taylor, and Gil Bar-Sela
Photo credit: Marilyn Montufar

We raised close to $250,000….

Photo credit: Chona Kasinger

We are lucky to have such generous supporters!
Photo credit: Chona Kasinger

We danced the night away….

Photo credit: Chona

Can you name those dancers/artists/curators?
Photo credit: Chona Kasinger

We are so grateful for your support – THANK YOU!

Photo credit: Marilyn Montufar

The Gala Committee: Honoree Ann Hamilton, Christine Hansen, Marshal McReal, Erica Massaquoi, Patrice Auld, Steve Hoedemaker, Barb Wright, Tim Pfeiffer, Henry Director Sylvia Wolf
Photo credit: Marilyn Montufar



The Week Ahead @ Henry

Today is George Washington’s Birthday.

Photo by Dan Bennett

Photo by Dan Bennett


Stretch your body and your mind, get out of the cold Thursday with us at lunch time. Wondering what VIDEO//YOGA is really like? Check out this great blog post by Valeria Koulikova from Beyond the Quad, the UW College of Arts and Sciences Student Blog.

Critical Collaboration Session: Crossings

What do you get when a UW student crosses the street? Let’s find out! Using Seattle’s Aurora Avenue as a point of departure, students and visitors will publicly address issues of identity, place, and civic infrastructure through design. Thursday night; free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of LA Times

Artist Lecture: Amanda Ross-Ho

We are excited to welcome Amanda Ross-Ho back to the Henry to speak in the UW School of Art artist lecture series. Amanda was a featured artist in our 2010 exhibition Image Transfer: Pictures in a Remix Culture. Get tickets now for Artist Lecture: Amanda Ross-Ho.

Wish you hadn’t missed a past lecture? You can see them all here on the UW SoA’s Vimeo page.

“HITS of Sunshine” Comes to the Henry Tomorrow!

The Henry is excited to host HITS of Sunshine in the middle of this cold snap. We caught up with Lisa Schonberg and Allan Wilson from the group for a quick conversation.

Henry: First off, you are coming to dark, cold, Seattle so let’s start with an important question: How do you take your coffee?

Lisa: Black, and in one of those taller ‘regular’ mugs, rather than in one of those broad saucer things.

Allan: Decaf.  Exciting, no?

Henry: Seattle is cold, like bone-chilling cold, lately. Portland, where you live, has had similar weather. In weather like this, what part of Joshua Tree do you miss most?

Lisa: It is definitely cold here. We’ve been “snowed in” for a few days now; all it takes is a few inches and everything gets canceled, since they do not have the infrastructure to handle it. I often miss the consistent warmth and dryness of Joshua Tree. I am much more adept at dealing with excessive heat than cold (my extremities shut down if they get too cold), and I never mind an intense sweat, whereas I get pretty grumpy when it I am cold for too long. I loved hiking in the desert in the sun, as long as I prepared myself with sunscreen and a wide hat. I also loved how the sand got into everything; my skin was different there, and my hair has this nice consistency and would hold itself in braids without any hairbands, and i just felt good – my circulation and my systems were functioning more smoothly. My energy levels were consistently higher and I did not experience the midday slump that is typical for most people I know in the Pacific Northwest. It is near impossible to bring that feeling to the cold damp Pacific Northwest unfortunately, but I just remember to get out in nature as much as I can regardless of the climate, and to walk aimlessly on trails. Even though I can’t replicate the feeling of sun or sand or open skies, and might need an espresso to keep my energy up, I can definitely still get the pleasure of walking in wild areas and the good feeling that always brings to me.

Allan: We spent an autumn month there (October 2012), which is a warm, pleasant time to visit.  So this week especially, Joshua Tree feels like a memory from a distant past on another planet.  I miss it all, really: the company, working everyday in Andrea’s studio, the boulders, the campfires, the smell of the creosote bushes, the outdoor kitchen and encampment, our wagonstations (where we slept), the stars, sunrises, sunsets (my lord, the sunsets!!), the various bugs and critters with whom we literally crossed paths every day… even the scorpions and rattlesnakes I miss, and now sincerely thank for choosing to leave us and our friends unharmed.

Here is a video of their experience so you can check out what Lisa and Allan are describing.

Henry: Watching this movie, it seems like place was a big part of the art and presentation. Will the Henry’s space be utilized as fully for the performance here?

Lisa: Well, there’s no way to replicate bouldered hillsides obviously, and sound will carry much differently in a closed space. We’ve already put on the performance at an indoor venue, Disjecta in Portland, and so we have dealt with some of the limitations, but also have benefited from the advantages of using an indoor space, such as being able to more easily control the movement of sound. Volume levels will come across more consistently and we do not have to deal with the elements of noise from wind or things like that. We will not have a full setup of speakers like we did in Joshua Tree, since there isn’t the same sort of space to walk around in to get the full effect of that sound installation and the spread of different samples coming at you from different points. And we don’t have the boulders to project visuals on. So we will instead be focusing on the music and fashion, sound collages and field recordings, and adding a new element of dance to our performance. Like Disjecta, Henry will offer us the advantage of a more concentrated space where it is easier to hone in the audience’s focus. We will be presenting our sound collages and field recordings in a new and interesting way at the Henry; they’ll be projected through the speaker system throughout the museum. I am excited about that!

Allan: Definitely. We decided to expand on what we did in the desert, and will be incorporating dance into parts of the performance. Fortunately, the sound system at the Henry will allow us to create a sort of “surround sound” environment, using the field samples we recorded in JT that form the core of many of our compositions. We’re also considering utilizing video projections during the performance.

Henry: Is there anything else you are looking forward to while you are here in Seattle?

Lisa: The library! And visiting with my old friends.

Allan: I guess I love Dick’s.  You know, the hamburger place.

Henry: Thanks, Allan and Lisa, we look forward to this weekend! get your tickets here for HITS of Sunshine.

Here are a few resources to get to know the creators:

Lisa’s website is frequently updated and she just got back from a similar trip in Hawaii.

Allan’s band !!! is currently on break from touring to create new music.

The third member of Hits of Sunshine, Heather Treadway, couldn’t join us for this chat but you can see her fashions at the event and on her website.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Mindfulness Meditation

Be still your thoughts while surrounded by art. Meditations begin promptly at 12:30 on Thursday. 

Critical Collaboration Session: Identity

Who am I? Does that change when I enter a new space? Will I be the same person after crossing a threshold? Using Seattle’s Aurora Avenue as a point of departure, students and visitors will publicly address issues of identity, place, and civic infrastructure through design. Sessions are free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of ssahn.com

Artist Lecture: Paul Elliman

Whether love is blind or not we are already in love with Paul Elliman. This lecture is sold out. Doors open at 6:15. We encourage you to arrive early to secure your seat. At 6:50, unclaimed seats will be released to those on the wait list. The lecture begins promptly at 7 pm. Thank you!

HITS of Sunshine

Whatcha doing on Feb 14th? Got a date? Not got a date? Want to dance either way? We’ve got “HITS of Sunshine” to lighten these dark, rainy days for you (There’s also rumors that day-glo cocktails may be offered). Get tickets here.

Grad Student Happy Hour Haiku Hunt

Enjoy the poems created during our annual Graduate Student Happy Hour. You can see more at the Haiku Hunt & What if? website created by Kat Seidemann, Talena Lachelle Queen, and Diana Savora, all of whom are students  in the MFA Creative Writing and Poetics at UW-Bothell

Hawkeye King, Engineering–E.E. PhD

Looks like molecules
When viewed from above
She taught me that

photo by Dan Bennett

photo by Dan Bennett


Sky light in wall
mysteries of all
Changing with the fall

photo by Dan Bennett

photo by Dan Bennett


2 hours until class
I could do all my reading
or have a beer here

photo by Dan Bennett

photo by Dan Bennett

Jordan R., Audiology

I wasted hours at
the Henry Art Gallery.
I regret nothing.

photo by Dan Bennett

photo by Dan Bennett