The Henry Open House is teeming with fun, excitement, and art! Not only are we opening two new exhibitions, Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell and Now Here is also Nowhere: Part I, but we are also throwing a museum-wide party! Come dressed in your conceptual best for the Student Henry Advisory Group’s Conceptual Costume Contest. Enjoy the sweet music of the UW Mariachi Band, Fainting Goats, and FBDC ~ ФБДЦ; Check out the FAN CLUB in the Study Center; eat some delicious babycakes courtesy of Cupcake Royale and enjoy libations from Pyramid Breweries. All of that PLUS installations of Public Health Poems by Rachel Kessler!

Rachel Kessler will premier her new poem cycle on public health posters installed in The Henry’s restrooms by sinks and in bathroom stalls.  Kessler will lead groups in hand-washing poetry usage, demonstrate hand washing technique, recite bathroom stall limericks, and sing sea shantys.  Each poem lasts approximately 30 seconds, the amount of time the department of health recommends lathering hands for.


About the project:

Remember how your preschool teacher instructed you to rub your soapy hands together for the entirety of the Happy Birthday song?  Now there is a poem for that.  While scrubbing in like surgeons, our minds and mouths deserve something more than that same old dreary song.

Rachel Kessler, a poet of the everyday, has composed a new poem cycle that will appear on bathroom stall doors, above urinals, and next to sinks in public restrooms. Posing as Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning to Work signs and stall door advertisements, these poster poems will provide entertainment while imparting a useful earworm of knowledge.

She began writing her first anonymous protest poems on the bathroom stall walls in seventh grade, and has long been fascinated by graffiti art. Inspired by a collaboration several years ago with poet Pete Miller and their collective LOCCAL: League of Citizens Concerned About Literature, her work with homeless adults, and as a preschool teacher and parent, began trying her hand at School House Rock style poems for her kids to recite while scrubbing their hands at the sink.

Determined to put poetry in unlikely and non-traditional venues, her work explores the function and origin of poetry, not only as a mnemonic device, but as a way to reflect on the mundane, daily activities that comprise the majority of our hours. After a short residency in Rome researching ancient public health works, she collaborated with graffiti, nursery rhyme, fairy tales, health department propaganda to compose poems for hand-washing, poems for toilet use, poems for dental hygiene, poems for bathroom stall decisions.  Like the “Talking Fountains” of Rome, defaced statues where poets post anonymous political commentary, bathroom stalls are the original online comments.  Public restrooms, like phone booths, are one of the few public-private spaces where a citizen can find respite in a public place.

This project was funded by a City Artists award from the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.


About the Henry event:
Several Public Health Poems will be installed in the Henry restrooms by sinks and in bathroom stalls. Rachel Kessler will lead individuals and groups in handwashing-poetry usage in the restrooms via demonstrations, in impromptu bathroom stall limerick recitations, and in other public health poetic concerns.  Sea shantys will be sung in bathroom stalls.



Rachel Kessler, co-founder of poetry-performance collaborations Typing Explosion and the Vis-à-Vis Society, is a writer and performer from Seattle.  Passionate about presenting poetry in non-traditional venues, she has performed interactive poetry in parks, on buses, in phonebooths, hair salons, and abandoned motels. She is visiting faculty and writer-in-residence at Centrum, a Whiteley Center Fellow with the University of Washington, a Jack Straw Writer, and senior writer-in-residence with Seattle Arts & Lectures.  She has performed at multiple times at the Seattle Art Museum, Bumbershoot, Night School at the Sorrento, Galapagos Art Space and Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.  Her poems have appeared in Tin House and the Monarch Review, and her text-based visual art is featured in The Open Daybook and Sea-Cat.

In summary, she’s a pretty rad lady. Make sure to spend some time in the loo at the Open House!

If you’re not part of the solution…

HAG, the Student Henry Advisory Group, had a Vancouver weekend trip planned long before we knew we had a Vancouver Problem (TVP).
More on TVP here, here, here, and here.

I think we can agree that part of the solution–if  examining the differences between art communities in Vancouver and Seattle can actually be called a problem– is just making the trip; getting to know what artists and art-interested folks are thinking about in the other cities in our region; getting to know people in communities outside of Seattle; and creating ties and conversations that are relevant across borders.

Five SHAG students and a few local artist/curator/enthusiasts headed north, with a stop at the Western Washington University Outdoor Sculpture Collection. We had a fantastic time meeting  artists, curators,  and collectors, visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery (Catching the last weekend of the FANTASTIC exhibition How Soon is Now), spending time at various artist run centres and galleries, checking out the graduate shows at Emily Carr, and just generally taking in all the ART our eyeballs could possibly handle.

Here’s some of what we saw (Click the photos to visit their presenters’ websites)

How Soon is Now @ The Vancouver Art Gallery
How Soon is Now @ The Vancouver Art Gallery (Closed May 3) - This selection of recent art from British Columbia was why SHAG chose this weekend to make the trip. I am SO glad we were able to see it!
Enacting Abstraction @ the Vancouver Art Gallery - February 14 to May 10, 2009
Enacting Abstraction @ the Vancouver Art Gallery until May 10, 2009
Phot(o)bjects Organized by Bob Nickas Alan Belcher, Walead Beshty,Gil Blank, Jennifer Bolande, Trisha Donnelly,Roe Ethridge, Guyton Walker, Rachel Harrison, Robert Heinecken, Matt Keegan, Annette Kelm, Louise Lawler, Carter Mull, Torbjorn Rødland, Alex Rose, Sam Samore, Wolfgang Tillmans ,Josh Tonsfeldt, Sara VanDerBeek, B. Wurtz
Phot(o)bjects --at Presentation House until June 7, 2009 (Alan Belcher, Walead Beshty, Gil Blank, Jennifer Bolande, Trisha Donnelly,Roe Ethridge, Guyton Walker, Rachel Harrison, Robert Heinecken, Matt Keegan, Annette Kelm, Louise Lawler, Carter Mull, Torbjorn Rødland, Alex Rose, Sam Samore, Wolfgang Tillmans ,Josh Tonsfeldt, Sara VanDerBeek, B. Wurtz; organized by Bob Nickas)
Transcontinental Divide: Raymond Boisjoly, Karina Bergmans, Jennifer Cook, Steven Hubert, Roy Lu, Sara Mameni, Isabelle Pauwels, Minh Nguyen, Stefan Thompson and Ron Tran
Transcontinental Divide at the Helen Pitt Gallery Artist Run Centre (Raymond Boisjoly, Karina Bergmans, Jennifer Cook, Steven Hubert, Roy Lu, Sara Mameni, Isabelle Pauwels, Minh Nguyen, Stefan Thompson and Ron Tran)
Paper Trail: Serial Material at Gallery Atsui until May 30, 2009
Elizabeth Zvonar: There are No Rules Elizabeth Zvonar April 11 – May 16, 2009 | Opening: April 10, 2009 8PM
Elizabeth Zvonar: There are No Rules on view at Western Front until May 16, 2009
Lutz Braun Abstrakter Realismus  May 6 - May 29, 2009
Lutz Braun: Abstrakter Realismus on view at Blanket Gallery May 6 - May 29, 2009
Tim Gardner  APR 17, 2009 to JUN 7, 2009 Tim Gardner on view at the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver until June 7, 2009

Please Stand By; Stand By Me

Please Stand By; Stand By Me, a collaborative  2-part exhibition  by  senior BFA students and Henry Student Advisory Members Sol Hashemi and Jason Hirata, will be opening this Thursday at Punch Gallery.  Making use of spatial ambiguity and binary juxtaposition, Hashemi and Hirata will investigate the variable meanings of flowers, wood, fog, and friendship.


Hashemi’s Chrysanthemum has an indistinguishable background, and the flowers seem to float freely in space.  The image can be seen correctly in any orientation.  Hirata’s photographs of wooden sculptures were made in a two-player game.  Hirata instructs his friends to fulfill certain objectives, for instance, to get three wooden beams above a certain mark on a wall, using only a set of 14 pieces.  Eating Dinner with Headlamps, a one-take video documentation, is an organic unfolding of events demonstrating Hashemi and Hirata’s collaborative nature and friendship.


The artists will also be staging evening performances, after hours. Every night at 9pm a fog machine will transition the gallery space into a living work where passers by can watch the artists coloborate on new works and sleep.

these fellas are great. go see them. really.

It’s true, they are in every frame.

Film folks get ready to geek out.

Today, The Henry Art Gallery’s student advisory group meet with Ryan Adams, a Color Timer at AlphaCine Labs, for an amazing tour of their processing facility. From optical printing to digital color timing, the experience was one that would captivate any cinephile.
With more than fifty years in the business processing award-winning films like Jesus Camp, Into the Wild, Born into Brothels, and I’m Not There, Alpha Cine provides lab services for all types of film and video processing. From traditional Lab processing (negative processing, color timing & printing), digital to film, to HD & 2k color correction, telecine and conversions to HD for feature films, documentaries, commercials and short films!

In short – they are kind of amazing. Living in a digital age it’s refreshing to see that analog technologies are still, in many ways, indispensable. Oh,  by the way, do you remember Viewmasters?

Yea – they make those too.

this calls for collaboration…

In a city with a wealth of talented individuals and collegiate arts institutions, why haven’t we seen more collaboration between universities?  Last Friday, the Henry’s Associate Director for Communications, Betsey Brock, and students from S.H.A.G  (Student/Henry Advisory Group) headed downtown to visit students art Cornish College of the Arts for a meeting of the minds. After some brief introductions we all started chatting about what we would like to see happen in the coming years – studio visits – collaborative shows – guest lectures  – public programs –  we put everything on the table, including business cards and contact information.


Shortly after, Henry folks were given a walk through tour of the facilities at Cornish. We were impressed with the individual studio space and group cohesion.  Even though each student had their own workspace they all seemed more than comfortable to engage each other outside that space and talk about their classmates work in an informed and genuine vernacular. Throughout the tour we continued to toss around ideas and agreed to meet up again after the New Year to get some projects in the works. One possible opportunity that was discussed was the possibility of a group show at Parnassus Cafe on the UW campus. On behalf of those visiting from the Henry, I can say that I’m greatly looking forward this collaboration – the whole situation smacks of possibility.cornish01

SHAG-ing and Nudge-ing (and Fact-Checking)

Check out Paul Constant’s post on the Stranger’s Slog on SHAG (Student Henry Advisory Group) member Brittany Denison and her suspended blog Aw Hell Yeah.

Edited to ADD:

My apologies at my sudden burst of excitement at this blog post! Here’s what’s really going on with Nudge and Stray as Aw Hell Yeah temporarily rises from the dead to say this:

“Just to clarify, I’m not the editor of Nudge. The brilliant founder, editor, and really only person on the masthead, is my good friend Claire Fox. I’m more of a…devoted aid. Also, Nudge is more documentation of a UW community of artists and writers than a journal, and it’s certainly not restricted to poetry. If you have any questions, or want to know more, you can email

What I am in charge of is Stray, a UW poetry collective. If you want to know more about Stray, check out our website at”

Team Teamwork!

Call them Ishmael…

Courtesy of University Week:

Photo by Kathy Sauber
Photo by Kathy Sauber

From left, Erin Weible, Whitney Ford and Karyn Gregory pose with one of the props available in a photo booth at this Friday’s Henry Open House at the Henry Gallery. Weible and Gregory are recent UW alumni who work for the Henry, and Ford is a member of SHAG, the Student Henry Advisory Group, the photo booth’s sponsor. It’s just one of the activities planned for the Open House, which participants are encouraged to attend in costume. Find out more at

Deep Storage – School of Art Style

The UW is a huge campus.
A lot of students make art here. It’s always a plus when we get to know these students  – and the two-way (Henry to students / Students to Henry) street is busy. Student exhibitions happen all the time, every now and then these students send out press releases and encourage non-students and non-faculty to come and check them out.

The communication lines seem more open than ever. It could be the founding of SHAG (the Student Henry Advisory Group), or ArtsUW, ArtsLink, or maybe we’re all just getting better at communicating, all the time. Maybe it’s just Facebook! Whatever the reason, I’m delighted. One of the great things about working at the Henry is that we are part of this HUGE research facility, and new ideas are all around us. Getting to witness the development of these ideas and meeting the emerging artists here is a great fringe benefit of being here.

More to the point:

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