The Week Ahead @ Henry

Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice Lecture: Liz Craft and Pentti Monkkonen
Thurs, March 12, 7 – 8:30 PM
Los Angeles-based artists Craft and Monkkonen both have artworks displayed worldwide, including Milan, Basel, and Zurich. Listen to what these co-founders of Paradise Garage and Paramount Ranch have to share about their artwork, projects, and contemporary art.

Paramount Ranch. Promotional image. 2014. Courtesy of Liz Craft and Pentti Monkkonen

ArtBreak: Mindfulness Meditation
Thurs, March 12, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Come de-stress and soak in art during this meditation session by engaging and observing your physical, mental, and emotional experiences.

ArtBreak: Salt Horse
Sat, March 14, 2:30 – 3 PM
Witness a precisely timed dance improvisation in response to Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E by Salt Horse founding artists: Angelina Baldoz, Beth Gracyzk, Corrie Befort, and Jason Anderson.

Image courtesy of Salt Horse.
Image courtesy of Salt Horse.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Oh man, we are just crawling out of bed after Saturday night’s fantastic Future History Gala. THANK YOU to everyone who came and supported the Henry! We couldn’t do it without you — and we wouldn’t want to.

What’s on the docket for this week? Read on!

SAL U Lectures: Thinking Animals – Species, Power, and the Politics of Care in the World
Friday, March 6, 7 – 8:30 PM
Associate professor of UW’s Jackson School of International Studies and CHID program María Elena García (who you may have been lucky enough to see at last Thursday’s ArtBreak) will be speaking on the intersection between humans, other animals, culture, politics, and how they are all intertwined.

Photo courtesy of María Elena García.
Photo courtesy of María Elena García.

ArtBreak: Robert Twomey
Saturday, March 7, 2:30 – 3 PM
Artist and UW Ph.D. candidate in DXARTS, Robert Twomey, will be exploring questions on interactive artwork and how art identity is achieved through installation and performance. Twomey has also been a vital part in creating the Field of Bullroarers in the common S E N S E. You don’t want to miss out!

ArtVenture with Jessixa Bagley
Sunday, March 8, 2 – 3:30 PM
Author, illustrator, and UW and Cornish College of the Arts graduate Jessixa Bagley will be leading an exploration on the books and stories within the common S E N S E. Bring the whole family for this fun-filled event!

Jessixa Bagley
Jessixa Bagley

The Week Ahead @ Henry

Ever done yoga in a museum? Now’s your chance.

ArtBreak: Video//Yoga
Thursday, Feb. 19, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Engage your senses in this yoga class taught with video art lead by Julia Greenway, curator and teacher at Interstitial Theatre. Video//Yoga occurs the third Thursday of every month.

Julia Greenway leads Video//Yoga

Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice Lecture: Gareth Moore
Thursday, Feb. 19, 7 – 8:30 PM
Gareth Moore will speak about his practice and various projects. His work has been displayed worldwide, including San Francisco, Vancouver, and Berlin. This artist lecture series is held in conjunction with the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design and the Nebula Project.

Gareth Moore. A place, near the buried canal. 2011-2012. [Installation view. 2012. dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.] Photo courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver
Gareth Moore. A place, near the buried canal. 2011-2012. [Installation view. 2012. dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.] Photo courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver
Bull Roarchestra with Stuart Dempster
Friday, Feb. 20, 7 – 9 PM
Renowned composer and UW School of Music Professor Emeritus Stuart Dempster and his specially assembled Bull Roarchestra will be performing pieces inspired by the sound and atmosphere created by the Field of Bullroarers in Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E.

ArtBreak with Julian Miller
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2:30 – 3 PM
University of Washington Museology graduate student Julian Miller will lead an exploration on the ideas of consumerism and its relation to the common S E N S E.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

You know, we say the more events in a week, the better!

Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice Lecture: Fabian Marti
Thursday, Jan 29, 7 – 8:30 PM
Come listen to Fabian Marti, founder of  several quasi-institutions and an artist with multiple world-wide exhibitions, provide his insight on contemporary art. This lecture series is held in conjunction with The University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design and the Nebula Project.

ArtBreak with the Nile Project
Thursday, Jan 29, 12:30 – 1 PM
Witness co-founders of the Nile Project, Mina Girgis (Egyptian ethnomusicologist) and Meklit Hadero (Ethiopian-American singer), play an offering to the animals in the common S E N S E.

Photo courtesy of the Nile Project.
Photo courtesy of the Nile Project.

Object Narratives: Fur and Fashion
Thursday, Jan 29, 7 – 8:30 PM
As part of the series that explores the historical and cultural context of objects in the common S E N S E, join Clara Berg, Museum of History & Industry’s Costumes and Textiles Collections Specialist, for a lesson about the local history of fashionable fur.

Ann Hamilton Opening Day. Photo credit: Dan Bennett
Ann Hamilton Opening Day. Photo credit: Dan Bennett

SAL U Lectures: Thinking Animals–Species, Power, and the Politics of Care in the World
Friday, Jan 30, 7 – 8:30 PM
The first lecture of this five-part Seattle Arts & Lectures course on human and animal connections will be led by Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

ArtBreak with Brian Carter
Saturday, Jan 31, 2:30 – 3 PM
Join Brian Carter, Manager of Exhibit Experiences at the Burke Museum, as he shares with us his point of view on the common S E N S E.

Photo courtesy of Brian Carter.
Photo courtesy of Brian Carter.

Object Narratives: Fur and Fashion

This week’s blog post is a preview of “Object Narratives: Fur and Fashion” coming up on January 29th. Clara Berg, Collections Specialist for Costumes and Textiles at MOHAI is our speaker and the author of today’s post.

Clara Berg. Photo credit: Kathleen Knies / MOHAI.
Clara Berg. Photo credit: Kathleen Knies / MOHAI.

I love the deeply personal nature of clothing. Clothing has an intimate, sensory relationship with the body, and every object has an intriguing history.

Ann Hamilton’s exhibition the common S E N S E includes more than forty garments from the collections of the Henry Art Gallery and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The garments are made from animal materials: fur, feathers, skins, guts. Depending on the piece and your sensibilities, you may find the idea of wearing the clothing repulsive or enticing. You may be passionately opposed to any kind of animal suffering, and recoil at the idea of wearing their skins on your body. Or you may find the materials interesting and inviting, and wish to experience their luxurious textures against your skin. Either way, there is something visceral about viewing these garments.

Clothing is also personal because it is full of stories. There is the story of the material itself—where it came from and how it was manipulated and changed. Then there is the story of how a garment was pieced together and shaped. Something hand-stitched takes hours of care and precision, but even the most industrialized clothing factory still requires human labor. You can’t put a bolt of fabric in a machine and have it spit out a pile of shirts. Human hands put pattern pieces together, guide sections through the sewing machines, and clip loose threads. Commercial garments also have the story of the seller—the person or people running a business which builds relationships with clients and promotes a certain aesthetic or lifestyle. Finally you have the wearer (or perhaps a succession of wearers) who take the garment out into the world—wearing it in daily life or only for special occasions.

If you are interested in learning more about the stories of the garments on display in the common S E N S E (and others from the Henry collection which are usually in storage) I’ll be giving a program on January 29th about the history of fur and fashion in Seattle. Who were the people and businesses involved in the industry here? Who were the clients who bought furs and where did they wear them? What did fur mean to the people of Seattle? I’ll talk about those histories, take a close look at some garments in the Reed Collection Study Center, and then tour the garments in the exhibition. For me, learning those historical stories increases that visceral experience of the garments. In addition to your own feelings about the materials and style of the garments, you can add a connection to the people who created, touched, and cared for the objects in the past.

The Week Ahead @ Henry

March is here and we couldn’t be more excited to be closer to spring. We invite you to come see our two new exhibitions that opened over the weekend: Parallel Practices: Joan Jonas & Gina Pane and The Brink: Anne Fenton.


Join us in the galleries on the first Thursday of every month for a midday concert series featuring performances from solo and chamber musicians from the University of Washington School of Music.

Music fills the Henry.  Photo by P. Dawn Keenen
Music fills the Henry.
Photo by P. Dawn Keenen

Critical Collaboration Session: Politics

Thursday night get down and gritty in Seattle politics while using Seattle’s Aurora Avenue as a point of departure. Discussion will publicly address issues of identity, place, and civic infrastructure through design.

Artist Lecture: Daniel Baumann

Join us Thursday night for the latest lecture in an annual series is organized to accompany the course Art 361/595 Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice, taught by guest lecturer Eric Fredericksen.

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

To view videos of previous lectures in this series, click here.

Collection in Focus: The Problem with Objects — DATE CHANGED to 3/20

Join artist and Cornish Professor Ephraim Russell on Thursday night for a conversation about contemporary sculpture. Examining a selection of sculpture from the Henry’s permanent collection, Russell will explore how cultural expectations around utility and the function of objects define the way we value and respond to sculpture.

ArtVENTURES at the Henry: Dig In!

Bring the family this Sunday because it is time to dig into the sculptures of Katinka Bock and excavate themes of history and archeology in the exhibition Katinka Bock: A and I. We’ll explore the transformation of natural materials in an interactive way.

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

The Blanche Payne Regional Costume Photograph and Drawing Collection Now Digitized

In the 1930s, Blanche Payne took two leaves of absence from her position teaching historic costume and apparel design in the UW’s School of Home Economics to travel through Central Europe and the Balkans surveying folk costume in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia. In addition to exploring museum collections, Miss Payne visited remote villages, markets, and festivals throughout the country to study and photograph peasant costumes. She augmented her studies by drafting patterns, commissioning watercolor paintings, and collecting postcards of the clothing she encountered.

These visual materials (photographs, pattern drawings, watercolor paintings, and postcards) collected by Miss Payne now live in the University of Washington Libraries’ Special Collections Division and have recently been digitized and made available online.

During her travels, Miss Payne also collected costumes and textiles (aprons, blouses, skirts, outer garments, accessories, and household textiles) which became part of the Henry’s permanent collection (over 694 objects). You can view these unique objects on the Henry’s website through our online collections database and the Costume and Textile Digital Gallery.

Digitizing the Payne Collection provides a virtual and intellectual connection between the visual materials and costumes. The photographs, pattern drawings, watercolor paintings, and postcards in UW Special Collections are valuable tools to help understand the ways the costumes in the Henry’s collection were worn and made.

Kosovo back apron

While in the field, Miss Payne photographed costumes from many different angles, realizing that each view helped to assemble the story of how a costume was worn. In this case, she photographed two women from Peć, in the Kosovo region of Serbia, from the rear, showing back aprons suspended casually below the waist. She collected an actual back apron from the period, now in the Henry’s collection. Within the upper and lower borders lie two pieces of striped fabric, joined horizontally, similar to the aprons in the photograph.

Back Apron
Women in costume from behind, Peć (Arnauti people), Serbia (Kosovo, former Yugoslavia), circa 1930-1937. University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, BPC0360 

Smilevo outer garment

Miss Payne made scale drawings of costume items from museums, personal collections, and the items she collected in the field. This woman’s fulled wool outer garment from Smilevo, Macedonia layers over a chemise with the arms going through the large armholes in the front. The thin triangular items at the shoulders (vestigial sleeves) are tucked into the sash at the back waist. The scale drawing, which illustrates the cut, seams, and placement of the braid adornment, shows a triangular shaped lower side piece that fits into upper side front and back pieces and provides a unique way of adding fullness to the garment’s skirt area.

Fulled outer garment
Yugoslavia: Macedonia, Bigla, Smilevo. Outer garment (sajak — woman’s). early 20th century.
Twill weave; Fulled; Applique; Embroidered. Wool with wool, silk embroidery, braid, and tassels.
Henry Art Gallery, Collected by Blanche Payne.      78.3-20, t3

We are lucky to retain all of the Payne Collection on the UW campus and we invite you to visit us in person or on the web to see these amazing objects yourself.

Many thanks to long-time volunteer and costume scholar Diana Ryesky for her research and contributions, both to the Henry and to this blog posting.

The Week Ahead @ The Henry

All is quiet on campus as fall quarter draws to a close.

Molly’s Cafe will have reduced hours during winter break. Starting this Thursday and through December 22, the cafe will be open from 10 am – 2 pm. From December 23-Jan 1, Molly’s will be closed. Plan your alternative coffee route now!

Closing in Early January

The three exhibitions in our North Galleries close on January 5th. You only have a few more weeks to see the amazing black and white photography featured in The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker. Michael Upchurch of The Seattle Times said of this exhibition, “Metzker has fun throwing curveballs at your eye by shifting a photograph’s focal point to its outer margins or mischievously decontextualizing a subject so that it takes a moment to register what you’re looking at.”

Meztker installation image
Installation image of The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker. Photo credit: Mark Woods.


Brian Miller at the Seattle Weekly says of David Hartt: Stray Light, “The video conveys the anomie of modern office life, coupled with the sadness of a sagging industry. All the archives, file cabinets, and artifacts of traditional publishing are obsolete. Yet there’s a dusty, lingering optimism to the orange sofas and ’70s palette, to the test kitchen and cosmetics counter. Hartt even duplicated the crazy rug pattern—almost like that in The Shining—on the floor of the Henry’s small video gallery.”

Hartt installation image
Installation image of David Hartt: Stray Light. Photo credit: Mark Woods.


Camera Nipponica: Photographs from Japan 1880 – 1930 showcases examples of souvenir albumen prints and delicate glass lantern slides from the Meiji (1868–1912) and Taishō (1912–1926) eras. The exhibition also highlights a larger selection of vernacular portrait photography taken mostly by unknown Japanese photographers during the same time period.

Installation image of Camera Nipponica. Photo credit: Mark Woods.
Installation image of Camera Nipponica. Photo credit: Mark Woods.

We hope to see you soon!

Maps and Memory: New VIEWPOINTS

Do you compare this map to one in your memory? Do you wish for a map to be a faithful reflection of the world? Or do you wonder to what relationships the map is faithful? When you look at The World From Memory, can you see yourself through your own questions? – Luke Bergmann, UW Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

VIEWPOINTS highlights select works from the Henry’s permanent collection and offers three perspectives on the work by University of Washington faculty members.

This iteration of VIEWPOINTS features the work of Emma Kay, a British artist. Kay incorporates various feats of memorization into her art. In the work on display, titled The World From Memory II, she draws a map of the world from memory complete with place names. Kay is interested in individual memory and how it processes maps, literature, religion, and the past – subjects she considers “the stuff of shared understanding.” Commenting on her work with maps, Kay states, “I quickly realized that we depend on maps as essential aids to memory precisely because they depict information that we can’t possibly hold in our heads.”

Kay’s work is displayed alongside the voices of UW faculty: Susan Joslyn, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology; Luke Bergmann, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography; and Deborah McCutchen, Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development, College of Education.

These three faculty members were specifically selected to respond to Kay’s artwork based on their research and teaching interests. We believe multiple voices can help expand our understanding of a work of art, cast a new light on overlooked details, and open our minds to new ideas.

Professor Joslyn teaches several Psychology classes focused on memory, including: PSYCH 462 Human Memory, PSYCH 568 Cognitive Approaches to Human Memory, and PSYCH 545: Advances in Cognition/Perception with a specific focus on Working Memory.

Professor Bergmann has a research interest in critical geovisualization as well as teaches GEOG 560: Principles of GIS Mapping. Geog 560 focuses on the origins, development, and methods of cartographic mapping. The course covers the principles of data representation and map design for thematic mapping and spatial analysis.

Professor McCutchen’s research focuses on cognitive processes underlying reading and writing ability. Central to her research is the question, “How are complex systems of knowledge used during reading and writing?”

VIEWPOINTS is a rotating series that presents new combinations of artworks and voices, emphasizing how works from the collection can inspire and provoke new dialogues and thoughts. Emma Kay’s artwork and accompanying faculty viewpoints will be on display on the Henry’s Mezzanine through March 2, 2014. Come and read each faculty response to the work and then form your own.