Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool
Best known for his life-sized portraits of those living within the urban northeastern communities of Connecticut, Barkley L. Hendricks’s bold portrayal of his subject’s attitude and style elevated these common and overlooked persons to celebrity status. Organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool is the first career retrospective of this renowned American artist. The exhibition is comprised of 57 paintings, including full-figure portraits and lesser-known early works, as well as the artist’s more recent portal-like paintings of the Jamaican landscape, where he returns annually to do outdoor “en pleine air” painting.
Hendricks’s stylistic renderings connect the art movements of American realism and post-modernism while touching upon many of the art movements of the 1960s and 70s—pop art, photorealism, minimalism, even black aesthetic nationalism. His work occupies a space somewhere between portraitists Chuck Close and Alex Katz and pioneering black conceptualists David Hammons and Adrian Piper. Cool, empowering and sometimes confrontational, Hendricks's artistic privileging of a culturally complex black body has paved the way for today's younger generation of artists.
About Barkley L. Hendricks
Hendricks’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and Europe, and include venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.
His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
The exhibition and related programs are sponsored in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.; National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art; Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; and North Carolina Arts Council with funding from the State of North Carolina.