Barkley L. Hendricks (1945–2017) revolutionized contemporary portraiture with his vivid depictions of Black subjects that emphasize the dignity and individuality of his sitters. Beginning in the late 1960s, his work drew from and challenged traditions of European art, and The Frick Collection—with its iconic portraits by Rembrandt, Bronzino, Van Dyck, and others—was one of his favorite museums.
Through a selection of some of Hendricks’s finest portraits displayed in the context of the Frick’s holdings, this exhibition celebrates and explores the remarkable work of this pioneering American painter with an unprecedented display of paintings drawn from private and public collections. Organized by Aimee Ng, Curator at the Frick, and Consulting Curator Antwaun Sargent, Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick considers the complex place of European painting in Hendricks’s art and the evolving role of the Frick in modern American culture. The accompanying catalogue features a foreword by Thelma Golden and contributions by artists and creative figures including Derrick Adams, Hilton Als, Nick Cave, Awol Erizku, Rashid Johnson, Fahamu Pecou, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.
“...what the indelible portraits at the Frick really portray is that art is a confluence of many rivers, and the greatest artists drink from them all.”—Yinka Elujoba, The New York Times
This exhibition is made possible with support from the Ford Foundation.
Additional funding is generously provided by Margot and Jerry Bogert, Bain Capital and The Crimson Lion / Lavine Family Foundation, Denise Littlefield Sobel, Ayesha Bulchandani, Agnes Gund, the Cheng-Harrell Institute for Global Affairs, Jane Richards, Suzanne Deal Booth, Gini and Randall Barbato, Barbara G. Fleischman, Michael and Jane Horvitz, Crystal McCrary McGuire and Raymond J. McGuire, Arielle Patrick, John F. Wieland Jr., Bailey Foote, Codring James Jr., Sterling McDavid and Carey Dorman, and an anonymous donor.