Barkley L. Hendricks, Lawdy Mama, 1969. Oil on canvas
Barkley L. Hendricks, Lawdy Mama, 1969. Oil on canvas

PAFA is proud to present the first career retrospective of Barkley L. Hendricks, a Philadelphia native and PAFA alumnus. Hendricks has received acclaim for his life-sized portraits of people of color. Having come of age in the Civil Rights era and the Black is Beautiful movement, Hendricks created cool, empowering, and sometimes confrontational images that explore the complexity of black identity. This exhibition of fifty-seven paintings has been heralded as one of the top ten exhibitions in New York in 2008.

During the course of the exhibition, Hendricks will present a public lecture and critique current students’ work at PAFA. The exhibition will be accompanied by an array of programs, including free programs every Sunday, a lecture by curator Trevor Schoonmaker, as well as a symposium, and will also partner for events with regional performing arts groups.

A major catalogue, with full-color illustrations and a series of incisive essays, is available for purchase at PAFA’s store Portfolio.

The exhibition will extend PAFA’s commitment to serving the African-American community, as evident in recent exhibitions of the Harold A. and Ann R. Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African-American Art, Betye Saar, and Jacob Lawrence.

Birth of the Cool

Barkley L. Hendricks (born 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary American painter who has made pioneering contributions to black portraiture and conceptualism. While he has worked in a variety of media and genres throughout his career (from photography to landscape painting), Hendricks’ best known work takes the form of life-sized painted oil portraits. In these portraits, he attempts to imbue a proud, dignified presence upon his subjects, most frequently urban people of color. Hendricks’ work has been noted as unique for its matrimony of both American realism and post-modernism.

Hendricks earned his certificate at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yale University. Currently, he serves as a professor of art at Connecticut College.

Hendricks’ work can be viewed in many public institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. Hendricks’ first career painting retrospective, titled Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, with works dating from 1964 to present, was organized by Trevor Schoonmaker at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in spring 2008, has traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, is on view now at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and will finish at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in spring 2010. Hendricks’s work was featured on the cover of the April 2009 issue of Artforum Magazine, with an extensive review of Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool.

Sunday, December 27
Queen Nur, Storytelling: “As Cool As It’s Kept – Words, Wisdom a Wit from the African American Community.” – A Storytelling Event.
Everyone has stories to tell. This presentation engages the audience in interactive exercises. Participants will hear stories inspired by Barkley Hendricks’ portraits, emphasizing story elements, presentation skills and story enhancement techniques, including song, rhythms, and dance.

Queen Nur, a nationally renowned storyteller and teaching artist, enthralls audiences in the delight of the African Oral Tradition. Sharing her gift, she has performed in venues from the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to Equity Theater on Broadway, from the National Black Storytelling Festival to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro. She has been the recipient of MidAtlantic Artist as Catalyst Grants for her work with Teens-at-Risk and Women’s Shelters. Queen has become nationally known for her highly energetic, creative and expressive storytelling style. Her tales celebrate storytelling’s ability to speak of values, history and universal truths.

Sunday, January 3
Artmaking Workshop – Basketball Paintings
View Hendricks’ Basketball paintings inspired by his love of the game. In the studio, paint your own sports paintings from basketball playing models.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, and the North Carolina Arts Council with funding from the State of North Carolina.
Funding for the tour of Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Additional support provided by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grant through the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. & Mrs. Harold Sorgenti, the Edna W. Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, the Lomax Family Foundation, and StoneRidge Investment Partners, LLC.

To learn more about the exhibit check out its website. The exhibit is being shown now, through January 3rd, 2010.

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