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 contributions by artists and creative figures including Derrick Adams, Nick Cave, Awol Erizku, Jeremy O. Harris, Rashid Johnson, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Fahamu Pecou, and Kehinde Wiley.