Henry Art Gallery announces new acquisitions

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Henry Art Gallery announces new acquisitions
Amanda Ross-Ho (U.S., born 1975), White Goddess #16 (LA COTE), 2008. Acrylic on canvas drop cloth. Henry Art Gallery, gift of the artist and Shane Campbell Gallery. © Amanda Ross-Ho.

SEATTLE, WA.- The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington announced recent acquisitions. Between 2020 and 2022, 348 new objects entered the museum’s permanent collection, which now includes more than 28,000 works of art. The gallery shared a selection of these objects below.

A significant cultural resource, the Henry’s collection features the work of national and international artists in a broad range of media including photographs, prints, drawings, paintings, ceramics, costumes, and textiles, collected since the museum’s inception in 1926. “The Henry’s collecting practices are guided by the museum’s commitment to equity and inclusion and to amplifying diverse voices and ideas,” says Dr. Ann Poulson, Curator of Collections. The Henry is prioritizing bringing works by BIPOC artists, particularly those identifying as Black, Latinx, and Native American, as well as artists who identify as women and LGBTQ+ into the collection. Examples include works by Chakaia Booker, Sarah Cain, Sue de Beer, Somaya Critchlow, Jacob Lawrence, Martín Soto Climent, and Kaari Upson.

“Once a work enters our collection, we take stewardship of it to ensure proper care, preservation, and availability for scholarship,” Dr. Poulson explains. Many works from the collection are exhibited as part of the museum’s rotating exhibitions, including the recent presentation of A Gee’s Bend quilt by Mary L. Bennett and the upcoming everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt. group exhibition which will feature moving image installations drawn from the museum’s holdings. Works are also loaned to other institutions for public view and research.

As a museum focused on contemporary art and ideas, the Henry has a long tradition of commissioning and premiering new works by established and emerging artists. A number of works entering the collection are by current or recent exhibiting artists, including Elaine Cameron-Weir, Fiona Connor, Barbara Earl Thomas, Suzanne McClelland, Catherine Opie, Amanda Ross-Ho, and Carrie Yamaoka. “The Henry is an artist-centered, community-engaged organization,” says Shamim M. Momin, Director of Curatorial Affairs. “We believe that artists are essential to building community and advancing society.” By collecting the work of exhibiting artists, the museum is able to extend its support beyond the bounds of an exhibition while also ensuring the continued conservation of works for future generations.

Somaya Critchlow’s Georgie (2020) is a celebration of Blackness, autonomy, and the female body, which finds good company in Frankie (1995), Catherine Opie’s portrayal of a personhood and a body that was rarely treated with such directness and honor. Although the methods and materials differ, Chakaia Booker’s sculptural reconfiguration of rubber tires, titled Liquid Infusion (2004), explores some of these same concepts. Her deconstructed tires transform a material traditionally associated with masculine industry into curves and tendrils more reminiscent of the female body, while also evoking the variation in Black skin tones and the texture of both tribal scarification and the physical markings of racialized cruelty.

Amanda Ross-Ho’s White Goddess #16 (LA COTE) (2008) is a playful reinterpretation of the ancient, and occasionally trendy, knotting technique of macramé. Ross-Ho’s work creates a lively dynamic when placed side-by-side with the many examples of traditional textiles in the Henry’s collection. Fiona Connor’s Untitled #21 (Silverlake Dog Park) (2019) also uses unexpected materials to make something that looks familiar—her resin cast of a noticeboard highlights analog social connectivity and community building.

"Growing and diversifying the Henry’s collection is a top priority for us,” Momin says. “We are particularly grateful to the many individuals who make it possible for us to acquire these significant works and are honored by their trust in us to care for them.” The Henry's collection originated with a gift of 178 works of art donated to the University of Washington by Horace C. Henry, the museum's founder. Much of the Henry's collection is accessible to the public online as well as in-person through The Eleanor Henry Reed Collection Study Center.

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