SEATTLE, WA.- The Henry Art Gallery
at the University of Washington announced recent acquisitions. Between 2020 and 2022, 348 new objects entered the museums 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 Henrys 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 museums inception in 1926. The Henrys collecting practices are guided by the museums 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 museums rotating exhibitions, including the recent presentation of A Gees 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 museums 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 Critchlows Georgie (2020) is a celebration of Blackness, autonomy, and the female body, which finds good company in Frankie (1995), Catherine Opies portrayal of a personhood and a body that was rarely treated with such directness and honor. Although the methods and materials differ, Chakaia Bookers 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-Hos White Goddess #16 (LA COTE) (2008) is a playful reinterpretation of the ancient, and occasionally trendy, knotting technique of macramé. Ross-Hos work creates a lively dynamic when placed side-by-side with the many examples of traditional textiles in the Henrys collection. Fiona Connors Untitled #21 (Silverlake Dog Park) (2019) also uses unexpected materials to make something that looks familiarher resin cast of a noticeboard highlights analog social connectivity and community building.
"Growing and diversifying the Henrys 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.