“My Mechanical Sketchbook” — Barkley L. Hendricks & Photography to open at the Rose Art Museum on February 10, 2022
(Waltham, Mass. January 2022) – The Rose Art Museum presents “My Mechanical Sketchbook” — Barkley L. Hendricks & Photography on view February 10–July 24, 2022. The exhibition explores the significant and multifaceted role of the camera and the photographic image within Barkley L. Hendricks’s artistic practice. Co-curated by Dr. Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator, and Dr. Elyan J. Hill, Guest Curator of African and African Diaspora Art, “My Mechanical Sketchbook” displays never-before-seen works on paper, Polaroids, and photographs—many from a treasure trove discovered after the artist’s death in 2017.
“By displaying Hendricks’s riveting photographs, Polaroids, and drawings alongside some of the artist’s well-known oil and acrylic paintings, we hope to shed new light on complex and fascinating aspects of his creative process, artistic versatility, and brilliant, all-encompassing vision” explained Dr. Ankori.
While Hendricks is internationally renowned as a virtuoso painter in oils and acrylics, “My Mechanical Sketchbook” presents the artist’s photographs as autonomous artworks, as models for his paintings, and as images produced by his “mechanical sketchbook” (the artist’s term for his camera), which helped him capture and recall sights and insights gleaned at home and abroad.
Deeply impacted by the lack of Black representation in portraiture after visiting art museums in Europe in the 1960s, Hendricks would go on to produce a rich and varied pantheon of monumental Black subjects in his paintings and photographs. His portraits counter Black invisibility while challenging the hypervisibility of Black people in the public imagination, confronting stereotypes that project fear and hypersexuality onto Black bodies.
“Throughout his life, Hendricks photographed people he found visually compelling, engaging, and remarkable. His Polaroids, photographs, and paintings lovingly recorded the people around him and those who were part of his life—many of whom belonged to overlooked communities from Africa and the African diaspora,” stated Dr. Hill. “Hendricks had an astute talent for capturing the ways people chose to fashion and present themselves to a world that often denied their humanity. The photographs convey the confidence, defiance, pride, beauty, and joy of people taking pleasure in being seen and desired, highlighting Blackness as a beautiful spectrum rather than a monolith.”
Exploring themes related to fashion, desire, technology, and America’s overt racism, “My Mechanical Sketchbook” highlights Hendricks’s use of the camera to produce portraits that defy categorization and insist on his subjects' full humanity and complexity.
“My Mechanical Sketchbook” — Barkley L. Hendricks & Photography is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Jack Shainman Gallery, the Barkley L. Hendricks Estate, Lizbeth Krupp, and Kimerly Rorschach and John Hart.
Virtual Opening Celebration: “My Mechanical Sketchbook” — Barkley L. Hendricks & Photography
February 16, 2022 | 7 PM<
Online via ZOOM
Join us for a special conversation featuring exhibition co-curators Dr. Gannit Ankori (Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator of the Rose), Dr. Elyan J. Hill (Guest Curator of African and African Diaspora Art), and artist James (Ari) Montford, a close friend of the late Barkley Hendricks.
Virtual Tour: “My Mechanical Sketchbook” — Barkley L. Hendricks & Photography
February 23, 2022 | 7 PM
Online via ZOOM
Co-curators Dr. Gannit Ankori, Rose Director and Chief Curator, and Dr. Elyan J. Hill, Guest Curator of African and African Diaspora Art, will lead a virtual tour of "My Mechanical Sketchbook” — Barkley L. Hendricks and Photography.
ABOUT THE ROSE ART MUSEUM AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1961, the Rose Art Museum is one of the nation’s preeminent university art museums. It has one of the most significant holdings of modern and contemporary art in New England. Through its exceptional collection, support of emerging artists, commitment to accessibility, and innovative programming, the museum serves as a nexus for communities, art, and social justice for Brandeis University and beyond. Recent acquisitions to its permanent collection include works by Radcliff Bailey, Jamal Cyrus, Renee Cox, Jeffrey Gibson, Barkley Hendricks, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, Joe Overstreet, Adam Pendleton, Wang Quingsong, Betye Saar. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Boston, the Rose Art Museum is open to all, and admission is always free.
# # # #