July 21, 2015

Summer exhibitions

Henry Art Gallery at University of Washington
Michelle Handelman. Irma Vep, The Last Breath (still), 2013. 4-channel HD video installation (color, sound), 37 minutes. Photo: Laure Leber. Courtesy of the artist.

Michelle Handelman: Irma Vep, The Last Breath
July 11–October 11, 2015

The Henry presents the West Coast premiere of Michelle Handelman’s Irma Vep, The Last Breath, a multi-screen video installation that immerses visitors in a story about life in the shadows of society. Handelman’s project takes its name and inspiration from the lead female character of Les vampires (dir. Louis Feuillade, 1915–16), a silent French film serial about a gang of thieves that terrorizes the Parisian upper class. Irma Vep—an anagram of “vampire—masks herself in various guises in order to commit her crimes and evade capture. Her signature costume is a black catsuit that conceals and fetishizes as it turns her into an object of desire.

Handelman’s story reframes Feuillade’s classic to examine the complex psychology of life undercover. Weaving fiction with the realities of lived experience, the clandestine character of Irma Vep comes alive in the body of transgender artist and performer Zackary Drucker.

Michelle Handelman (b. 1960, USA) is a Brooklyn-based artist who has exhibited and screened her work internationally. She has had solo shows at the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2014); Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin, Texas (2011); and Participant, Inc., New York (2009).

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Les vampires. In celebration, the Henry will host “Interrupted Dialogues,” a series of screenings and talks ranging from a profile of the film’s female lead, Musidora, to the cultural history of the catsuit.

Michelle Handelman: Irma Vep, The Last Breath is organized by Nina Bozicnik, Assistant Curator. The “Interrupted Dialogues” screening series is organized by Emily Zimmerman, Associate Curator of Programs. 


Martin Creed: Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space
June 27–September 27, 2015

The Henry is proud to present Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space (2004) by multi-media British artist Martin Creed (b. 1968, UK). Part of a suite of pieces made with balloons, the monochromatic and formless sea of silver spheres offers visitors an opportunity to navigate the work from within while challenging them to consider the location of art to be found somewhere between physical experience and sculptural construct.

Creed is well known for constantly and systematically challenging definitions of art through apparently mundane gestures. In reality, those gestures are very complex and are designed with precision to stretch the boundaries of museum work and to taunt audiences with stark yet playful and seductive questions about where contemporary art is today.

Martin Creed received the prestigious Turner Prize in 2001. Recent solo exhibitions include Work No. 1562: Half the air in a given space, THEMUSEUM, Ontario (2015); Art & Sound, Fondazione Prada, Venice (2014); What’s the Point of it?, Hayward Gallery, London, (2014); BALLET (Work No. 1020), Royal Festival Hall, London (2014); The Kitchen, New York (2013); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2012).

Martin Creed: Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space is organized by Luis Croquer, Deputy Director of Exhibitions, Collections, and Programs.


Also on view:

Canvas Constructions: Karen Carson and Allan McCollum
Through October 4

Ilse Bing: Modern Photographer 
Through October 11

Willem de Rooij: Bouquet XI
Through August 16


For further information and image requests, please contact [email protected].


Summer exhibitions at the Henry

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.