A work of art



Andrew Chan

  • www.seattlenorthgate.hamptonbyhilton.com

A work of art

From installations to galleries, the UW offers art in every nook and cranny

By Danielle Palmer-Friedman

Although the University of Washington is known for its research in medicine and science, the university has done quite a bit of art collecting over the years. The UW displays art from celebrated artists as well as current and former students. Here’s a list of some of the must-see art and galleries around campus:


Red Square

Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces in the UW art collection is “Broken Obelisk” by Barnett Newman in Red Square. This piece is one of three; the other two reside at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. The sculptures are made of Cor-Ten steel, a material manufactured to rust and weather over time. “Broken Obelisk” is more than 25 feet in height and weighs approximately 6,000 pounds. The sculpture was gifted to the UW in 1971 by Virginia Wright.


15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 41st Street

The Henry Art Gallery is much bigger than it appears at first glance. The gallery has three floors and three main showrooms, a sculpture court, a café, and conference rooms. The focus of the Henry Art Gallery is contemporary modern art, accessible to the general public.

The Henry changes its exhibits about every three months. The museum features a few permanent pieces such as “Light Reign” by James Turrell. “Light Reign” is a skyspace, or a suspended structure built for reflection and meditation. The skyspace offers a different experience depending on the day; it has a retractable hydraulic roof that is removed on good-weather days.

Upcoming 2017 exhibits include Doris Totten Chase: Changing Forums (July 8 to Oct. 10).

Large bags, umbrellas, and food or drink are not allowed; there is a complimentary locker system set up in the lobby. Photography is permitted in certain exhibits but prohibited in others. No flash photography, no video recording; only personal photography permitted.


Northeast Campus Parkway and 15th Avenue Northeast

This prominent statue is located at the entrance of campus between the Henry Art Gallery and Red Square. In 1909, the Daughters of the American Revolution raised $6,000 to commission this statue from Lorado Taft. The sculpture was first displayed as part of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909.


Art Building, Room 132, Northeast Stevens Way

Jacob Lawrence Gallery, or “The Jake,” is the place to experience the work of up-and-coming artists and designers studying at the UW. The Jake features work from current students, including those receiving bachelor’s degrees in design and fine art. The Jake is free to visit. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Most exhibits feature contemporary art and use various mediums including film, audio, and photography.


The second floor of MGH features various paintings gifted from prior art students. The paintings range from the abstract to the meticulously real. Some particularly stunning pieces include various oil-on-canvas paintings, such as Dwight Jonsson’s “Untitled” and Christopher Roberts’ “Untitled.” Both are vivid, oversized paintings that play with themes of light and color.

The building is open during the academic year Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. In the summer, Mary Gates is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is closed on the weekends.


Located next to William H. Gates Hall on Memorial Way Northeast, at the end of Parrington Lawn, “Department of Forensic Morphology Annex” is a striking metallic structure amid the surrounding greenery. The piece resembles a space-tent or a small planetarium. The sculpture was commissioned from artist Cris Bruch in 2004 by the UW’s Art in Public Places Program.

  • www.hfs.washington.edu
  • www.hcde.uw.edu



Stuart Danford