Portraits by Barkley L. Hendricks Will Hang With Old Masters at the Frick

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Portraits by Barkley L. Hendricks Will Hang With Old Masters at the Frick

Portrait painter Berkeley L. Hendrix, who died in 2017, regarded the Frick Collection as one of his favorite museums. Today, a large black-American painting of Hendrix’s celebration is adorned in its hometown of Rembrandt, Bronzino and Van Dyck as the first color artist to hold a solo exhibition at 87-year-old Flick.

In the fall of 2023, the museum will be exhibiting at its temporary home, Flick Madison, with about 12 portraits of Hendrix in his collection. Hendrix created life-sized portraits of black friends, relatives, and strangers he met on the street. Although these paintings have just been widely recognized in museums and the art market, they helped set the assertive tone of the figure and opened the field for many young artists.

“He used to paint in the tradition of an old master. The quality is great and the visual impact is there,” said Flick curator Aimee Ng. “I wanted to have his paintings in the foreground, just as I would treat a historical artist.”

Ng is planning a show with Gagosian director Antwaun Sargent. He was a consulting curator and first proposed ideas. Flick has been working on shows with outside scholars, but this is the first time the museum has partnered with a curator who also holds the position of a commercial gallery.

“You have a painter who is very familiar with the traditions of old masters and was hardly respected in his time,” Sargent said. “He was thinking about modern culture, but he was also thinking about our history with artists like Whistler.”

Portraits of Hendrix black men and women are displayed throughout the museum. For example, Afro’s cousin canvas “Lawdy Mama” (1969) uses the gold leaf technique used in religious depictions and is illustrated by a group of early Italian Renaissance panels in Flick’s collection. It has been.

The curator points out his limited palette painting “Steve” (1976), a Northern Renaissance like Jan van Eyck, where “Madonna and Child of St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth, and Jan Van Eyck” live in Flick Madison. A Scandinavian gallery that said it was reminiscent of the artists of.

“We’re not hunting him down. We put the work in a collection and say he’s more important than anything else on the other walls of the museum,” Sargent said. “I’m curious about how there is a reaction between Berkeley’s work and the work of these European masters, and what kind of relationship visitors have.”

The Hendrix Impact Catalog includes contributions by artists such as Derrick Adams, Nick Cave, and Toyin Ojih Odutra that acknowledge Hendrix’s widespread influence.

“He was an important predecessor to Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherald, and even Rashid Johnson for the generation of portrait painters that followed him,” Sargent said. “Without Berkeley’s work, I would argue that I wouldn’t be able to get this moment of the figure we see today.”

Hendrix’s interest in black sculpting in the 1960s and 1970s put him out of the mainstream of black artists during that period, and many were heavily absorbed in the civil rights and Black Power movements.

His work was largely unrecognized until recently, when the art world began to modify the canon and black portraits became popular.

While Flick seems to be late in focusing on modern black artists, the museum, whose mission is to collect and present European art from the 14th to 19th centuries, is from the purists. I admit that there is an inevitable backlash.

Frick has tentatively experimented with more advanced programming. The current project, “Living Historics: Queer Views and Old Masters,” features the work of four artists, Doron Langberg, Salman Toll, Jenna Gribbon, and Toyin Ojih Odutra, and is usually excluded from the story. Explore the issue of gender and queer identity. Of early modern European art.

“There are traditionalists who don’t think there is a place for color artists because flicks aren’t traditionally done, and there are people who are really dying for this kind of thing.” Ng said. “Our group of young people is bigger than ever. It tells me we’re heading in the right direction. I’ve been with Flick for 40, 50 and 60 years. I don’t want to alienate those who are. I want to bridge the historic collection with other art. “

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