Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool
Original Traveling Exhibition
The Nasher Museum presented the first career retrospective of American artist Barkley L. Hendricks’ paintings, an exhibition featured on the cover of Artforum magazine and highlighted in Vogue magazine’s “The Vogue 25” cultural highlights of 2008.
Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool opened at the Nasher Museum and traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Santa Monica Museum of Art in California, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
NEW HARDCOVER REISSUE
The Nasher Museum presents the new hardcover reissue of Barkley Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, the exhibition catalogue published by the Nasher Museum on the occasion of the artist’s 2008 painting retrospective. This richly illustrated book was edited by curator Trevor Schoonmaker, who wrote the introductory essay, and includes contributions from Richard J. Powell, the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Franklin Sirmans, Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). The catalogue is distributed by Duke University Press and available at the Nasher Museum Store. The hardcover reprint newly includes an in memoriam text and photographs by the artist, who passed away in 2017.
Bold Portrayals of Attitude & Style
Hendricks is best known for his life-size portraits of people of color from the urban Northeast; he elevates the common and overlooked person to celebrity status with bold portrayals of his subjects’ attitude and style. The exhibition included 57 paintings from 1964 to the present.
Hendricks was born in Philadelphia in 1945, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from Yale University. He is professor emeritus of studio art at Connecticut College in New London, Conn., where he taught from 1972 until he retired in 2010. He passed away in 2017.
Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum, organized the show and edited the 140-page catalogue.
The Nasher Museum’s collection has grown to include three paintings and three photographs by Hendricks.
The 2008 exhibition and related programs were 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.
Cover of Artforum magazine
“Figures and Grounds: The Art of Barkley L. Hendricks,” an essay by Huey Copeland, landed the Aprill 2009 issue of Artforum magazine.
Review in The New York Times
“Barkley L. Hendricks did not birth the cool — that was Miles Davis — but his suave portraits from the 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s give him the right to use “Birth of the Cool” as the title of his five-decade retrospective … ” — Ken Johnson, The New York Times, December 4, 2008.
Hendricks in Art in America
Read the feature by Janet Koplos, “High style, art historical references and black popular culture coalesce in the art of Barkley L. Hendricks,” published in Art in America on Feb 24, 2009.
The Nasher Museum presented Barkley L. Hendricks: Works from the Collection, at the entrance to Wilson Pavillion, as part of The Collection Galleries. American artist Barkley…
I have been given the monumental task of penning thoughts concerning my visits, residency, exhibition and homecoming to the Route 501 neighborhood. Monumental due to the many times I have visited and the special significance in my life of this area from southern Virginia down to Durham, N.C. Monumental because these visits cover a time span from my single-digit youth to just a couple of years ago. Monumental because of the very special place the Nasher Museum holds for me since the creative collaboration that became the Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool exhibition, its accompanying programs and my subsequent artist residency at Duke. Kudos and profound thanks, yet again, to Trevor Schoonmaker for his pivotal role.
Since I spent many summers up the road in Meadville, Va., coming to Duke and Durham was like a revisiting my early life. There is always encompassing hospitality from those associated with Duke University and its extended family that is warm and inviting. The organization and collaboration of the exhibition Birth of the Cool was both professional and personal. The professional piece rendered me ever appreciative and in awe of those many folks with whom I worked. The personal status extended to each activity and forum associated with BoTC.Barkley L. Hendricks, New London, Connecticut, 2015