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Self-Portrait with Black Hat,1980–2013
Photograph: Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New YorkSelf-Portrait with Black Hat,1980–2013

The Frick is holding its first-ever solo show for an artist of color

Iconic artist Barkley L. Hendricks will be the subject of the revolutionary show.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

It has taken 87 years but, this September, the Frick Madison will hold its first-ever solo show for an artist of color.

“Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick” is scheduled to open on September 21, 2023, and run through January 7, 2024, highlighting works by the American painter drawn from both public and private collections.

According to an official press release, the Frick, now residing in its temporary home on Madison Avenue, will also offer a “robust roster of educational public programs to complement the show” alongside an accompanying catalog with contributions by a variety of artists.

Visitors will get to browse through a selection of a dozen of Hendricks' famous portraits, which indirectly commented and challenged the sorts of traditions that defined European art in the late 1960s and beyond.

Barkley L. Hendricks
Photograph: Courtesy of the Frick
Woody, 1973
Photograph: Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New YorkWoody, 1973

Among the works on display will be a set of “limited-palette” canvases that feature Black figures dressed in white against a white background; 1969’s “Lawdy Mama,” a portrait of the artist’s cousin donning an Afro hairstyle; and the limited-palette painting Steve, from 1976, which focuses on the reflections of arched windows in the subject's sunglasses. 

“This project—the first major museum exhibition and catalog to focus solely on Hendricks’s early period of portraiture—allows us to consider connections the Frick has made with artists since it became a public museum in 1935,” said Aimee Ng, the museum’s curator, in an official statement. “Hendricks’s astonishing portraits of predominantly Black figures, not represented in the Frick’s historic paintings yet who, with their self-assured style, appear right at home among them, grants unprecedented opportunities to celebrate and explore the Frick’s collection, Hendricks’s groundbreaking innovations, and the bridges between them.”

Unfortunately, Hendricks passed at the age of 72 back in 2017 so New Yorkers will only get to celebrate this wonderful and well-deserved achievement of his posthumously. 

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