Philadelphia-born artist Barkley Hendricks was a renowned painter and photographer, best known for his ultra-realist post-modern portraits of people living in urban areas throughout the 60s and 70s, up until the present day.
Having come of age during the Civil Rights era and the Black is Beautiful movement, Hendricks worked to create life-sized super-vibrant portraits of people of colour that explored the complexities of black identity.
From jazz musicians to athletes, his travelling retrospective Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool saw the artist document portraits of African-American men that are “Decidedly inconclusive” said Huey Copeland in his take on Hendricks in a cover story for Artforum’s April 2009 issue, where he stated that the “artist’s pictures . . . not only valorised blackness but gave rise to emphatic displays of a new, self-conscious ‘to-be-looked-at-ness.’”
Barkley’s work will be included in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, at the Tate Modern from July 12 to October 22