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.

Guest Blog from Rebecca Migdal, Summer Intern

Throughout the year, the Henry offers a variety of student internships in different departments. Find current opportunities here. This past summer, Rebecca Migdal, a Lois F. McNeil Fellow and  graduate student in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware, interned in the collections department under our Curator of Collections, Judy Sourakli. She recently blogged a reflection of her internship at the Henry on the University of Delaware’s Museum Studies in Motion blog. Here is an excerpt:

“Hands-on access also developed my visual vocabulary for late 19th and early 20th century clothing, the various issues with their conditions, their storage requirements, and other special needs. Throughout the internship, I contributed to other collections management functions, too. I helped research selections from the historic dress collection so we could more precisely date costume pieces. I also learned about the Mimsy XG database and the preparation and organization of digital images for both internal and external use. Learning a little about the Henry’s methods for condition reporting, storing flat textiles, and its accession process was also a focus during the summer.”

Read the rest of the post here!


Wolfgang Laib- Last Chance

Have you guys seen this time-lapse of the Laib install that our wonderful art handler Webster Crowell made back in February? It is super neat.

Come see the piece before it closes! Sunday will be the last day for it – we’re open 11am-4pm.

I volunteer at the apiary on the UW campus farm and everyone over there is super stoked about this Laib work (of course, Laib’s pollen is collected from plants, not bees.)  No matter- we’re headed over in a little group Sunday afternoon to talk about pollen. See. You. There.


P.S. I like to think that as Laib’s pollen grains go back into their glass jars and away into collections storage, spring is going to turn and the flowers, pollen and pollinators from RL are going to come out in full force.  Good timing? On this rainy afternoon maybe just wishful thinking.

P.P.S. Write this in your planner:

Upcoming Henry event!  Collections in Focus: Installation Art

Join Henry Head Preparator and Exhibition Designer Jim Rittimann, Henry Lead Preparator Dan Gurney, and Eric Fredericksen, Director of Western Bridge, for a discussion about select works in the museum’s collection that have challenged museum staff to rethink how art is stored, cared for, and installed. Artworks highlighted in the discussion will include James Turell’s Skyspace Light Reign and Wolfgang Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut.

Please RSVP by May 15 to Rachael Faust, Assistant Curator of Collections and Academic Programs, at

Event is Friday May 18

7-8.30pm, Reed Collection Study Center

Members’ Choice

What could make the Henry’s OPEN HOUSE even better? Members’ Choice!

On April 20, during the members’ preview at the Spring Open House, Henry members have the opportunity to choose permanent collection objects for display in the Reed Collection Study Center.

Members are encouraged to search the Henry’s collection online for artwork and submit a request. To help focus your search through the Henry’s vast collections, we are asking members to choose objects related to the Henry’s current exhibitions, including Gary Hill, Andrew Dadson, and Ceramics.

Explore the museum’s collection through the online database.

Or explore collection objects through our Digital Galleries.

Once you’ve found your object, please fill out this form.

If you have questions about searching the collection, contact Assistant Curator of Collections & Academic Programs Rachael Faust at

On April 20th, during the members’ preview portion of the Open House, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., drop by the Study Center to see your choice on display alongside works chosen by your fellow members.

Have fun exploring the collection!

Deadline for submissions: Wednesday, April 18th

Have you seen Around the Bend and Over the Edge yet?

Around the Bend and Over the Edge exhibits ceramics created by Seattle artists during a period of radical revisions of what constitutes ceramic art. The show, curated by Martha Kingsbury, was specifically scheduled to be on view during the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts’ 46th Annual Conference taking place in Seattle March 28th to 31st.

Read the Seattle Times review of Around the Bend and Over the Edge as well as BAM’s ceramic show Push Play here.

Clayton Bailey Featured in Wired

Clayton Bailey, one of the featured ceramicists in our Around the Bend and Over the Edge exhibition, is featured in Wired.

PORT COSTA, California — The first thing you’ll notice upon entering Clayton Bailey’s workshop is the man and his mustache. The ends of his majestic facial hair curl down either side of his mouth and don’t stop until they’re well down his chest.

Next you’ll notice the many steampunkish ray guns — from dueling pistols to rifles to turrets — that Bailey has constructed from materials he found at flea markets and scrap yards around the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead of shooting lasers, they utilize either lungpower or pump-action air pressure to launch peas, corks or bits of potato a third of the way down a football field.

Read more HERE. If you like what you see / read, come check out some of his other pieces here at the Henry.