Barkley Hendricks is on the cover of the latest issue of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art! Barkley painted this portrait of revolutionary Nigerian Afrobeat musician and political activist Fela Kuti for an exhibition I curated in 2003 at the new Museum of Contemporary Art called Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. It was the first portrait he completed in almost twenty years, after turning his attention to other subjects and artistic media like photography, landscape painting and assemblage. Five years later in 2008 I had the honor of organizing his painting retrospective Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool at the Nasher. It’s great to see Barkley finally getting the recognition he deserves…and he’s quickly rising to cult-figure status like Fela himself!
Speaking of Black President, Satch Hoyt – who is currently a visiting artist at the Nasher – was also in the show, with an amazing sound sculpture, The Shrine. A tribute to Fela’s 27 wives/queens, the stylish dancers and singers in his massive ensemble band, the piece is a sound capsule named after Fela’s legendary nightclub which evoked the energy of the music and dancing within.
The work is a great introduction to Satch’s work, and his interest in combining music, art and history into a rich stew. Don’t forget that you can meet Satch this week at both his talk at Duke’s Franklin Center on Thursday, and then at a reception at Liberty Arts Foundry on Friday. To see more of what he’s working on for the next show I’m curating, The Record, visit the Nasher’s Flickr page.
Barkley Hendricks, Fela: Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen…, 2002, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY
Satch Hoyt, The Shrine (27 Brides of the Black President), 2002-2003, courtesy the artist.