Barkley Hendricks

Barkley L. Hendricks (1945–2017)

Artist Barkley L. Hendricks has passed away. Born in 1945, Hendricks received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University. In the words of Huey Copeland, Hendricks’s paintings, often portraits of black people, are “decidedly inconclusive, its personages inscrutable and its narrative indecipherable; yet it is rendered in terms that resonate with the visual production of African-American culture as consumer spectacle.” In his take on Hendricks—the cover story of Artforum’s April 2009 issue—Copeland also credited Richard Powell with observing that the “artist’s pictures . . . not only valorized blackness but gave rise to emphatic displays of a new, self-conscious ‘to-be-looked-at-ness.’”

Hendricks’s work was included in the influential show “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1994. Later, a retrospective featuring his work, titled “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool,” opened at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in spring 2008 and traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

His work is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York and included in the permanent collections of New York’s Whitney Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Columbus Museum of Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Ulrich Museum at Wichita State University; Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts; and London’s Tate Modern, among other institutions. He was the recipient of many awards, including the 2016 Rappaport Prize, the President’s Award from the Amistad Center for Art and Culture in 2010, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in 2008.

Hendricks served as professor emeritus of studio art at Connecticut College.