Lyman Allyn exhibition celebrates the life and work of Barkley L. Hendricks

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Lyman Allyn exhibition celebrates the life and work of Barkley L. Hendricks
Barkley L. Hendricks, Untitled (Self-Portrait), ca. 1975, gelatin silver print, 16 ½ x 24 ½ inches framed. © Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman.



NEW LONDON, CONN.- The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is currently presenting a special exhibition that explores the work of one of New London’s best-known artists, Barkley L. Hendricks (1945—2017). The exhibition, Barkley L. Henricks in New London, opened Friday, May 26 and presents the work of the internationally celebrated Hendricks, who is best known for his expressive, large-scale portraits, many from the 1970s, which present a powerful vision of modern Black identity. Inspired by Old Master portraits and the desire for racial diversity in the artistic canon, the long-time Connecticut College art professor painted portraits of himself and the people around him, including his neighbors, students, family, and strangers he encountered on the street. Hendricks’ vision and his groundbreaking portraits shifted the course of contemporary art and helped blaze a path for the creative richness of Black portraiture produced today.

“The exhibition considers Hendricks’ work from a regional standpoint, exploring the role of place, community, and teaching over the span of his career in Connecticut,” said Tanya Pohrt, Curator. With 34 works of art in different media, including numerous photographs, our show explores the range and breadth of Hendricks’ artistic production.”

Originally from Philadelphia, Hendricks studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before attending Yale University, where he received a BA / MFA in 1972. Hendricks then taught studio art at Connecticut College from 1972 until his retirement in 2010, living in New London for the remainder of his life.

“Our goal is to help visitors better understand the artist’s work and legacy by considering how Hendricks’ oeuvre was shaped by geography and community,” said Museum Director Sam Quigley, who noted that Hendricks was a brilliant and prolific photographer as well as a phenomenal painter. “We are excited that our show includes 10 never-before-seen photographs taken here in New London, which were uncovered and printed since Hendricks’ passing in 2017.”

The internationally celebrated Barkley L. Hendricks (1945–2017) is best known for his expressive, large-scale portraits, many from the 1970s, which present a powerful vision of modern Black identity. Inspired by Old Master portraits and the desire for racial diversity in the artistic canon, Hendricks painted himself and the people around him—his neighbors, students, family, and strangers he encountered on the street. Barkley L. Hendricks in New London considers the work of this influential artist from a regional standpoint, exploring the role of place, community, and teaching in Hendricks’ career. With 35 works of art on view in a range of media, the exhibition explores the range and breadth of Hendricks’ artistic production.

Originally from Philadelphia, Hendricks studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before attending Yale University, where he received an MFA in 1972. Hendricks then taught studio art at Connecticut College from 1972 until his retirement in 2010, living in New London. As his career advanced, Hendricks could have relocated to New York to be closer to the contemporary art world, but his decision to stay in southeastern Connecticut was significant and meaningful.

Barkley L. Hendricks in New London aims to better understand the artist’s work and legacy by considering how Hendricks’ oeuvre was shaped by geography and community and exploring connections between his art and his teaching. In addition to large-scale portraits, Hendricks painted landscapes and watercolor still lives and he produced prints and multi-media collages, exploring a range of topics and ideas. Hendricks was also an avid and prolific photographer who utilized his camera as a “mechanical sketchbook,” documenting everyday encounters and his wider travels. Some photographs were used as models for his painted portraits, while others were exhibited as stand-alone works of art. The exhibition will include ten newly archived photographs taken in New London, which were uncovered and printed since the artist’s death in 2017.

Barkley L. Hendricks in New London
May 26 – September 3, 2023










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