Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool


October 17, 2009 - January 3, 2010

Fisher Brooks Gallery, Samuel M. V. Hamilton Building

PAFA is proud to present the first career retrospective of Barkley L. Hendricks, a Philadelphia native and PAFA alumnus.  Hendricks has received acclaim for his life-sized portraits of people of color.  Having come of age in the Civil Rights era and the Black is Beautiful movement, Hendricks created cool, empowering, and sometimes confrontational images that explore the complexity of black identity.  This exhibition of fifty-seven paintings has been heralded as one of the top ten exhibitions in New York in 2008. 

During the course of the exhibition, Hendricks will present a public lecture and critique current students' work at PAFA.  The exhibition will be accompanied by an array of programs, including free programs every Sunday, a lecture by curator Trevor Schoonmaker, as well as a symposium, and will also partner for events with regional performing arts groups. 

A major catalogue, with full-color illustrations and a series of incisive essays, is available for purchase at PAFA's store Portfolio.

The exhibition will extend PAFA's commitment to serving the African-American community, as evident in recent exhibitions of the Harold A. and Ann R. Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African-American Art, Betye Saar, and Jacob Lawrence.

Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool originated at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in 2008, curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, and then traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Following the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the exhibition concludes at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (January 30 – April 18, 2010). 

Julien Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art

The exhibition is 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.

Funding for the tour of Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Additional support provided by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grant through the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. & Mrs. Harold Sorgenti, the Edna W. Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, the Lomax Family Foundation, and StoneRidge Investment Partners, LLC.
Media support provided by The Philadelphia Tribune.




Click below to open a video about Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, produced while it was on view at the Nasher Museum of Art at Dunke University in 2008.

This documentary was prepared for Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.