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Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964-2007

May 16 - August 22, 2009

 

The Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964-2007, the renowned American artist's first career retrospective. Highlighting some of his best-known paintings -- striking, provocative and colorful life-sized portraits of everyday people of color -- the exhibition opens May 16 and continues through August 22, 2009.

Bringing to mind American realism, pop culture, Renaissance portraiture, and post-modernism in a way uniquely his own, Hendricks' pioneering contributions to American portraiture and conceptualism claim a compelling space somewhere between portraitists Chuck Close and Alex Katz, and black conceptualists David Hammons and Adrian Piper. Hendricks' groundbreaking body of work has both influenced and paved the way for many of today's generation of artists.

Hendricks' bold portrayal of his subject's attitude and style elevates the common person to celebrity status. At times cool, at times confrontational, sometimes sexually charged, and always empowering, Hendricks' large-scale portraiture reveals the artist's keen eye for his subject's attire, spirit, and point of view.

While Hendricks has worked in variety of media and has examined diverse subject matter throughout his distinguished career, the focus of this exhibition is mainly his important figurative paintings made during the highly charged 1960s and 70s, when he explored and expressed themes of personal and cultural identity through iconic, stylish portraits, some of himself. The show also features lesser-known early works and the artist's more recent plein air studies of the Jamaican landscape painted during his annual visits.

Hendricks was born in 1945 in Philadelphia and trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He earned his bachelor's and master's in fine arts from Yale University, and has been teaching art at Connecticut College since 1972. His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the National Gallery of Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the Columbus Museum of Art; the Chrysler Museum; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964-2007 originated at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in 2008, curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, and then traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem. Following SMMoA, it travels to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (October 17, 2009 - January 3, 2010), and concludes at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (January 30 - April 18, 2010).

The exhibition catalogue focuses primarily on the artist's full-figure portraits, and includes the most comprehensive bibliography on Hendricks to date, a timeline of the artist's life, and an interview with the artist by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It also includes essays by Barkley L. Hendricks, Duke University art historian Richard J. Powell, exhibition curator Trevor Schoonmaker, and Franklin Sirmans, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection. Distributed by Duke University Press. Paperback, 163 illustrations.

Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964-2007 was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

 

Checklist

My Black Nun, 1964
11 _ x 7 _ inches (17 1/8 x 12 _ in. framed)
Oil on Masonite board
Courtesy of the artist
 
Self-Portrait, 1966
42 x 28 inches (43 x 29 3/8 inches framed)
Oil on cotton canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Vertical Hold, 1967
47 x 44 inches (no frame)
Oil, acrylic, and metallic silver on cotton canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Dippy's Delight, 1969
46 inch diameter (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on canvas
Collection of Blake Byrne, Los Angeles
 
FTA, 1968
27 _ x 25 inches (27 3/8 x 25 1/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Collection of Charlotte and Gordon Moore, Cambridge, MA
 
J.S.B. III (James Sherman Brantley), 1968
48 x 34 3/8 inches (48 1/8 x 34 5/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richardson Dilworth
 
Icon for My Man Superman (Superman never save any black people-Bobby Seale), 1969
59 _ x 48 inches (no frame)
Oil, acrylic, and aluminum leaf on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Lawdy Mama, 1969
53 _ x 36 _ inches (54 _ 36 _ in. framed)
Oil and gold leaf on linen canvas
The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; gift of Stuart Liebman, in memory of Joseph B. Liebman
Miss T, 1969
66 x 48 inches (67 7/8 x 49 5/8 in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art; purchased with the Philadelphia Foundation Fund, 1970
 
Brown Sugar Vine, 1970
50 x 48 inches (51 _ x 49 5/8 in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. John T. Williams Sr., Philadelphia
 
Granada, 1970
48 x 46 inches (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. John T. Williams Sr., Philadelphia
 
Dixwell, 1971
38 _ inch diameter (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
North Carolina Central University Art Museum, Durham, NC
Down Home Taste, 1971
48 _ x 48 5/8 inches (48 _ x 48 _ in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Office of the Dean of Students, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; gift of Michael Straight to the Willard Straight Hall
Art Collection
 
Sergio, 1972
60 x 44 inches (60 7/8 x 44 _ in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Robert and Joan Clark, Philadelphia
Ms. Johnson (Estelle), 1972
73 x 50 _ inches (73 3/8 x 51 1/8 inches framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Gibbes Museum of Art / Carolina Art Association, Charleston, SC
 
Mayreh (Mary Sheehan), 1973
72 _ x 52 inches (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Dr. Kool, 1973
72 _ x 52 _ inches (73 x 53 in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Joan Clark, Philadelphia
 
New Orleans Niggah, 1973
Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas
National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, Wilberforce, OH; gift of Joseph Erdelac, Cleveland, OH
 
What's Going On, 1974
65 _ x 83 _ inches (66 _ x 84 1/8 in. framed)
Oil, acrylic, and magna on cotton canvas
Courtesy of ACA Galleries, New York
 
Bahsir (Robert Gowens), 1975
83 _ x 66 inches (83 3/14 x 66 _ in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; Fund for Acquisitions, with additional funds given by Jack Neely, 2007
 
Bedroom Eyes (Self-Portrait), 1975
10 x 10 inches (11 7/8 x 11 _ in. framed)
Oil and acrylic (iridescent) on cotton canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Blood (Donald Formey), 1975
72 x 50 _ inches (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas
Collection of Dr. Kenneth Montague / The Wedge Collection, Toronto
 
North Philly Niggah (William Corbett), 1975
72 _ x 48 _ inches (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas
Collection of Blake Byrne, Los Angeles
Take All the Time You Need (Adrienne Hawkins), 1975
72 _ x 72 _ inches (no frame)
Oil on linen canvas
Collection of David Lamond, San Francisco
 
Sweet Thang (Lynn Jenkins), 1975­1976
52 1/8 x 52 _ inches (no frame)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Misc. Tyrone (Tyrone Smith), 1976
72 x 50 _ inches (no frame)
Oil and magna on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Steve, 1976
72 x 48 inches (no frame)
Oil, acrylic, and magna on linen canvas
The Forbes Collection, New York
 
Brilliantly Endowed (Self-Portrait), 1977
66 x 48 _ inches (72 x 53 _ in framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Doc and Ruby's Oldest Boy (Self-Portrait), 1977
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Columbus Museum of Art, OH; Museum Purchase, Derby Fund, from the Philip J. and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art 1930­1970
 
Slick (Self-Portrait), 1977
72 x 48 inches (74 _ x 50 _ in. framed)
Oil, acrylic, and magna on linen canvas
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; gift of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, Childe Hassam Purchase Funds
 
Sisters (Susan and Toni), 1977
66 x 48 _ inches (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
APB's (Afro-Parisian Brothers), 1978
72 x 50 inches (no frame)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; The Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund
 
Tequila, 1978
60 _ x 50 _ inches (61 x 51 in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Museum Purchase 1980
 
Tuff Tony, 1978
72 x 48 inches (72 7/8 x 49 in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
The Forbes Collection, New York
Latin from Manhattan the Bronx Actually, 1980
66 1/8 X 50 _ inches (68 _ x 52 _ in. framed)
Oil and acrylic on linen canvas
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Miller, Grand Rapids, MI
 
Icon for Fifi, 1982
60 _ x 50 _ inches (60 7/8 x 50 3/8 in. framed)
Oil and combination leaf on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Ma Petite Kumquat, 1983
72 _ x 40 1/8 inches (no frame)
Oil, acrylic, white gold, and silver leaf on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Fela: Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, 2002
66 _ x 46 _ inches (60 x 40 inches unframed), with 60 inch altarpiece
Oil and variegated leaf on linen canvas, wooden frame, altarpiece armature, 27 pairs of painted high heels
Courtesy of the artist
 
Lunch with Picasso: Curry Goat for Two, 2003
15 _ x 19 _ inches (17 _ x 21 1/8 in. framed)
Oil, acrylic, and gold variegated leaf on cotton canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Roaring River Apostle (Serious Smoker Series), 2004
72 1/4 x 40 inches framed
Oil on linen canvas, wooden frame
Courtesy of the artist
Black River from the Elgin Road View, 2005
16 _ x 28 inches (21 3/8 x 32 7/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
 
Courtesy of the artist
New Year's Marl Hole, 2007
18 _ x 26 _ inches (23 5/8 x 31 3/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Alligator's Head, 2005
12 x 21 inches (17 x 26 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
View from Behind the School, 2000
22 inch diameter (29 _ in. diameter framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Barkley L. Hendricks
 
Lyrical View from the Villa, 2005
12 x 21 inches (17 x 26 1/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Cold Day on the Mountain, 2006
17 _ x 27 _ inches (22 1/4 x 32 5/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
New Year's Day in the Quarry (Marl Hole), 2006
18 3/4 x 26 1/2 in
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
The Anglican Perspective on January 3rd, 2006
14 x 24 inches (19 x 29 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Mustard YS Falls, 2002
12 x 21 inches (17 x 26 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Boxing Day in the Quarry #3, 2004
16 _ x 28 inches (21_ x 32 7/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
St. Mary's Blues (Sky), 2006
14 x 24 inches (19 x 29 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
View from Red Banks School, 2000
12 x 21 inches (17 x 26 1/8 in. framed)
Oil on cotton canvas
Courtesy of the artist
 
Boxing Day in the Quarry (Marl Hole), 2006
18 _ x 26 _ inches (23 _ x 31 3/8 in. framed)
Oil on linen canvas
Courtesy of the artist

Selected Public Programs

All events are held at SMMoA unless otherwise indicated:

Saturday, June 6, 1-4 pm
Free Family Day: Put on a Happy Face
(recommended for ages 6 to adult)
A workshop held in conjunction with the exhibition Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964-2007
RSVP and imagination required: asuka.hisa@smmoa.org or 310.586.6488 x118
 
Tuesday, June 23, 7 pm
SMMoA Book Club: I Wonder As I Wander by Langston Hughes
Writer and musicologist professor Josh Kun leads SMMoA members through Hughes' 1956 autobiographical journey.
Refreshments provided. SMMoA Members only.
RSVP required: anna.nickila@smmoa.org or 310.586.6488 x116
 
Tuesday, June 30, 7 pm
Cutting a Figure: Barkley L. Hendricks and Black Portraiture
Writer and historian Richard J. Powell explores the history of portraits of peoples of African descent in paintings, photographs, graphic arts, and cinema as it relates to the work of Barkley L. Hendricks. Powell is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University; his latest book is Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture (2008, University of Chicago Press), available from the SMMoA shop, GRACIE.
Book signing follows lecture.
Free Admission. Limited seating; first come, first seated
 
Tuesday, July 14, 7 pm
Generation Next: Mickalene Thomas and the legacy of Barkley L. Hendricks
Artist Mickalene Thomas in conversation with Lisa Melandri, SMMoA Deputy Director.
Free Admission. Limited seating; first come, first seated

 

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