ART & DESIGN

Lena Henke: Star Material

This young artist is digging deep and stirring things up.


Photographer: Biel Parklee

When Lena Henke was in art school in Frankfurt, Germany, she famously borrowed an artwork from the bank where she was employed—without permission. The bank didn’t seem to miss its Bruce Nauman, which spent the night in a group exhibition, and Henke’s renegade spirit has continued unchecked, informing M/L Artspace, the pop-up gallery she started with her best friend, the performance artist Marie Karlberg, in Brooklyn in 2013. The duo has staged exhibitions at such anti-gallery venues as a nail salon, a Brooklyn-Queens Expressway underpass, and a beach in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Mischievousness has also found its way into the studio where Henke, 32, makes sculptures in which classical materials are offset by industrial elements like tar and concrete. Her works—including metal grates embedded with epoxy, sand, and asphalt—feel at once familiar and unlike anything you’ve seen. “No rules,” she says of her practice. “For fun, I work.”

Installation view of Henke’s Geburt und Familie, 2013. Courtesy of artist and Galerie Parisa Kind.

Star Material

“Everyone who really responds to the work talks about playing with sand at the beach.” -Jennifer Guidi. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here. Photograph by Ramona Trent.

Guidi’s Untitled (Field #10 Black & White), 2014. Courtesy of artist.

“The art objects have a sort of aliveness to them. They change the sonics of the room, and it maybe becomes a little more immersive.” -Kevin Beasley. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Photographer: Biel Parklee

Beasley’s Katies’, 2014. Courtesy of Jen Vong.

“No rules,” says Lena Henke of her practice. “For fun, I work.” Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Photographer: Biel Parklee

Installation view of Henke’s Geburt und Familie, 2013. Courtesy of artist and Galerie Parisa Kind.

“Things overlap. It’s just a fact of existence.” -Sebastian Black. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Sebastian Black’s Big Green, 2013. Courtesy of Clearing gallery.

Installation view of Black’s Period Piece (Partition) 2 and Edible Manhattan, 2013. Courtesy of Clearing gallery.

“I don’t have any connection to anything I make.” -Ryan Estep. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Courtesy of the artist.

Installation view of Untitled Iron Oxide, Soap, Lemons, 2014. Courtesy of Ellis King Gallery, Dublin.

“The place where the thing gets fucked up—that’s the moment of beauty.” – Will Boone. Read more from this up-and-coming artist here.

Portrait by Stephanie Boone.

Boone’s Soldier, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Karma.

1/12