Another Soldier Down: Barkley L. Hendricks

One year and 37 days ago this hashtag read, #NYC BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS EXHIBITION

New Yorkers have the chance to attend this Thursday, March 17th, from 6-8 PM the opening reception for Barkley L. Hendricks’ second solo exhibition with the Jack Shainman Gallery.  Featuring new oil and acrylic paintings, Hendricks will showcase his most political works to date with a brand-new touch of realism and pop culture.

Little did we know that this would be our last chance to attend an opening reception with the living artist, Barkley L. Hendricks.

the  hashtag headline today reads,

#BarkleyHendricks #RIP #jackshainmangallery

It is with great sadness that we announce that Barkley L. Hendricks passed away this morning.  He was 72 years old. He is survived by his wife, Susan of 34 years.

The Artist Barkley L. Hendricks Has Died at 72

"He was a true artist’s artist, always dedicated to his singular vision.  "He was a figurative painter when it was trendy and especially when it wasn’t," said Jack Shainman in a statement.

Barkley stood out as an artist well ahead of his time. Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas and others of today's black figurative artists did not blaze the trails they walk on. When they looked straight ahead, they could see the backside of Barkley in front of them.  He whacked the path. 

Photo by Chris Hildreth

His life-size portraits of fabulously attired black men and women were his visions from the 1960s, ’70s, and early ’80s.

Before the 60's there was no, black body in pop culture because there wasn't  any pop culture.

In the 80's figurative art fell out of grace and conceptual art began to dominate the art market. Barkley turned to photography and painting landscapes as he rode out the next two decades. until  there was a  . . . 

Rebirth of Cool

 "Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool," a major, five-decade retrospective in 2008, organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, chief curator of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, renewed appreciation of Hendricks' career and its impact. 

Hendricks' work could not be easily defined by the art industry and he insisted on maintaining his individuality.  Because of that, he paid a price -- this kept him outside of the public's awareness for so many years.  Despite his being a lone soldier, his pioneering vision moved the next generation  . . .

On April 2, 2015 at Swann Auction Galleries, Barkley Hendricks entered into the 
consciousness of the art buying public when, the painting, Steve, had an estimated reserve of $120,000 - 180,000 sold for a record breaking $365,000.00

Today ,Barkley’s body of work is as fresh and vibrant as ever, and the impact he made through his art and teaching is only beginning to be felt. This summer, he was to participate in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, at the Tate Modern in London from July 12 to October 22, 2017.  This is a fruit of his long career he will never taste.

My personal opinion:

This younger generation of school trained artists are reaping from the low hanging fruits they did not plant.  They have no stand out vision.  The hope for the next innovative art expression lies with the next generation of visionary artists and if they fail to provide vision, there will be no future fruits to reap and the light will go out.

 but for now, another soldier down ---

#BarkleyHendricks #RIP 


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Comment by Manuelita Brown on April 19, 2017 at 10:17am

His art is an affirmation to my spirit.

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