Mellifluous Meditation in “the common S E N S E”

Today’s blog post is written by Erika VanHorne, UW senior and choir president of the UW Chorale. 

On the eve of “An Evening in the Galleries with the UW Chorale,” a special event that was held in conjunction with the Henry’s exhibition Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E, I was nervous. This experience was unprecedented for me as a collegiate choral singer – a deliberate inversion of my ossified conceptions of performance, space, and audience. Yet as the choir reverently filed into the gallery that whirred with otherworldly bullroarers, my sense of trepidation dissipated – replaced with a transfixed reverie.

Audience members expectantly dispersed themselves among the jumbled choristers – but my focus was directed at the machines that crescendoed in tandem with our voices. We moved next to the North gallery where canonical choral literature was sung among images of specimens printed on newsprint. The sheets which rippled softly as the audience quietly stepped around us and them. Next, the choir slowly dissolved and dispersed throughout the Henry – allowing singers to wander as individuals.

Photo credit: Robert Wade.
Photo credit: Robert Wade.

These improvisations took on a meditative nature – as I grasped for the names of the immured specimens through song, I induced an inner dialogue on the nature of human-derived taxonomies. In this time of independent song, a fellow chorister would occasionally sidle up next to me – intertwining a voice with mine in unexpected, sublime euphony. As the boundary between performer and gallery visitor also evaporated, I found another audience – the specimens themselves. Through lyrics, these creatures were anthropomorphized with an intimate sonic tactility – at once haunting and familiar.

Although I visited this exhibition at its opening, this event became an unexpectedly meaningful experience for me. Throughout my university experience, I have found that the most enriching experiences are those that transcend the false dichotomy within the arts and academic disciplines. In this interdisciplinary vein, artist Ann Hamilton and Dr. Giselle Wyers, director of the UW Chorale, crafted an evocative, organic experience through an unexpected fusion of song, art, material culture, and biology that challenged my boundaries as a singer and humanist.


Students partaking in the UW Middle School Young Writers Workshop paid a visit to the Henry this past month to search for literary inspiration. They took an exploratory look through our dynamic exhibition Vortexhibition Polyphonica. Their instructor Storme Webber, an accomplished spoken word, vocal and visual artist with an extensive experience in writing, teaching and performance guided her students to find poetry within the Henry’s collection. Here is a poem created from a student’s experience with Gary Hill’s Wall Piece. To read more of the students’ brilliant work visit the class’s blog at

Dark Picture by Piggy Zombie

Pung! Pung! Pung!




Picturing one person

Can surprise



One person Jump!

Everybody Jump!

One, more, One, more,

Keep closing eyes!

Jump!  Surprise!  Lights!


It makes bright

For one second!



Crashing to the wall!

It Takes Two

It’s Strange Coupling time again. And in honor of this annual, Spring artstravaganza, I give you Kim Weston and Marvin Gaye, who will sing while you check out this year’s (exciting) Strange Couples and the details:

Strange Coupling, along with Ouch My Eye Gallery, is excited to present an exhibition of new collaborative work by prominent local artists and current art students at the University of Washington. Coupling VIII: Matches Made will feature the following artist pairs working across all disciplines:

Gala Bent :: Nuala Ni Fhlathuin
Heide Hinrichs :: Matt Hilger
Britta Johnson :: Christopher McElroy
Shawn Patrick Landis :: Sohroosh Hashemi
Kate Lebo :: Bryan Schoneman
Mike Pham :: Acacia Marable
Tim Roda :: Hanita Schwartz
Joey Veltkamp :: Lucy Alma Brennan

The opening will be April 1, 2010 from 7:00 – 11:00 pm. All the work will be for sale by silent auction; bidding will begin when the doors open and will end promptly at 9:00 pm. The exhibition will run April 1 – May 6, 2010.

This year’s artists were paired by Marisa Sánchez, Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art for the Seattle Art Museum and Michael Van Horn, Curator of The Joseph and Elaine Monsen Photography Collection.

For more information, visit or contact Peter Nelson at

About Strange Coupling

Capitalizing on the strong art community in the Seattle area, Strange Coupling was formed in 2002 to establish a meaningful connection between established artists and current UW students. Strange Coupling is an independent, student-run art organization.

Animalia: UW Student Exhibition in the Reed Collections Study Center

UW Student Exhibition: Animalia

Last Friday night, as part of the museum’s Open House, the Henry presented a one-night-only exhibition curated by University of Washington student, Natasha Lozanoff. Lozanoff’s show, titled Animalia, was selected by museum staff from a group of approximately 20 virtual exhibitions created by students in Ellen Garvens’ winter quarter Contemporary Issues in Photography class.

Garvens’ students began by using the Henry’s online Collections Search to select work from the museum’s permanent collection. They then assembled virtual exhibitions–employing images of the artwork–on themes ranging from abstraction to vulnerability. Many of the class participants are art and photography students, and so elected to include their own artwork in the exhibitions.

Collaborating with Garvens, museum staff attended two class sessions to watch the students present their virtual exhibitions and to provide critical feedback, related to exhibition themes and curatorial practice. Each student then assembled a poster documenting the exhibition, a 500-word exhibition description (the length and style of a museum wall text), and a brief advertising blurb/elevator speech summarizing the exhibition theme and content.

As a final step in this process, Henry staff selected one of projects, Lozanoff’s, to be realized during the Open House in the Reed Collections Study Center. Three additional students received honorable mentions: Danielle Comeaux, who explored how the process of making and circulating photographs can create and/or distort memory; Amanda Kirk, who assembled objects that document, imply or create motion; and Joana Stillwell, whose exhibition, Objectry, surveyed our cultural and psychological connections to domestic objects.

Lozanoff’s exhibition, Animalia, presented an object-based survey of the shifting relationship between man and animals. Drawing from a wide range of museum holdings–fur garments, contemporary photography (including one of the curator’s own photographs), a Delacriox painting of a lion from the original Horace C. Henry gift–Lozanoff outlined the evolution of the man/beast relationship, from utilitarian to symbolic. Lozanoff worked with museum staff to install the show, create labels, and fine tune her wall text. Also on display were all of the class posters.

Following are some pictures from that evening. Cheers to Lozanoff for her excellent exhibition proposal and her smart, curious approach to realizing the installation. We had a great time working with her, her fantastic professor, and the other members of her exceptional class.

The Reed Collections Study Center provides class and individual access to artwork not on view in the museum galleries. The Center is open by appointment, 9 AM-5 PM, Monday-Friday.

University Coverage of the Henry

University Week | Art enchances medicine: Learning to look more closely : featuring the University of Washington School of Medicine and Henry Art Gallery course, Visual Thinking: How to Observe in Depth

The UW Daily | Henry Art Gallery takes a new direction: Jacob Dahlgren exhibit opens on campus : A look at Henry exhibition Jacob Dahlgren: Forward, Back, Right, Left on view now!

the Spectator at Seattle University | Henry merits journey into Huskies territory : a Seattle University student’s experience of visiting the Henry! All students receive free admission with student ID!

100 Reasons to Support the Henry Art Gallery

BUY TICKETS NOW!SEE LISTEN TASTE FEEL will be a unique art experience that exemplifies what the Henry Art Gallery presents at the museum all year round: exciting, challenging, thought-provoking contemporary art. Proceeds from ticket sales to this event will provide essential support for Henry Art Gallery exhibitions, artist residencies, and community arts programs.

Too general for you? Well, I’m going to put the money where my mouth is and name 100 reasons – 100 amazing exhibitions, programs, and events at the Henry this past and upcoming year (in no particular order) – that’s $1 for each reason = 1 ticket to the SEE LISTEN TASTE FEEL party. Show your support for the Henry and and buy a ticket to the PARTY OF THE YEAR for the Henry Benefit on January 31.


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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!