Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool

Producer: Karen Smyles

Barkley L. Hendricks was born and raised in North Philadelphia and went on to become a world-renown artist. He was best known for his sometimes provocative and confrontational portraits of ordinary people in the African American community. April 18, 2017, Hendricks passed away at the age of 72, but his powerful work continues to influence a new generation of artists, and to engage audiences from every background.

Hendricks attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is considered to be one of their most distinguished alumni and an important voice in the history of American figurative art. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The National Portrait Gallery, Washington; The National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Tate Modern, London; Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y.; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; and the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, N.C.; among many others.

Friday Arts sat down with David R. Brigham, PAFA President and CEO, to learn more about Hendricks, one of PAFA’s most esteemed alumni. Brigham notes how the artist remained true to his artistic vision and how that impacted his success in the art world. We also talk with Hendrick’s PAFA classmate and friend, Richard Watson, and other PAFA alumni who discuss how the artist’s work impacted them.

Kimberly Inga Brown
Artist Kimberly Inga Brown attended PAFA from 2010-2014. Brown discusses how her love of the work of the traditional European masters and her time at PAFA impacted her work. She als0 talks about meeting Barkley Hendricks and the role that played.

PAFA Artists
Produced by Karen Smyles
Edited by Demi Ratchford

President and CEO of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, David Brigham and Clint Jukkala, Dean of the School of Fine Arts, both discuss the history of PAFA as well as the opportunities for student artists. John Sigmund envisioned himself as a traditional painter, but found himself involved with unexpected mediums. Painter Inga Kimberly Brown found guidance and comfort in PAFA as her artistic muse unraveled. PAFA gave Sophie Brenneman the chance and space to experiment with the human figure. Richard J. Watson’s work embodies his memories and spirituality—his paintings reflect his experience growing up during desegregation.

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