What is Going on by Barkley L. Hendricks – the prescient painter—who died at the age of 72—documented the African American figure as a cultural, and commodified, phenomenon.
Barkley L. Hendricks is one of the finest figure painters of his generation, died on Tuesday at 72. Large in scale, his paintings combined the tonality of Rembrandt with the sensibility of Andy Warhol. His stylized portraits—realist African American figures set against abstract backgrounds—starred friends and neighbors from his life, posed for timelessness. His broader project was to document the black image as a phenomenon, as it manifested in fashion, billboards, magazines, and movies.