Barkley L. Hendricks (born 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary American painter who has made pioneering contributions to black portraiture and conceptualism. While he has worked in a variety of media and genres throughout his career (from photography to landscape painting), Hendricks' best known work takes the form of life-sized painted oil portraits. In these portraits, he attempts to imbue a proud, dignified presence upon his subjects. He frequently painted black Americans against monochrome interpretations of urban northeastern American backdrops. Hendricks' work has been noted as unique for its matrimony of both American realism and post-modernism. Although Hendricks does not pose his subjects as celebrities, victims, or protesters, the subjects depicted in his works were often the voices of the under-represented blacks of the 1960s and 1970s. Hendricks has even stood alongside his subjects and has featured himself in works, like in Slick(Self portrait), 1977 where he paints himself nude in response to an art critics comments on his show.
Hendricks earned his certificate at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and received both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Yale University. Hendricks is Professor Emeritus of Studio Art at Connecticut College since 1972.
Hendricks' work can be viewed in many public institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. Hendricks' first career painting retrospective, titled Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, with works dating from 1964 to present, was organized by Trevor Schoonmaker at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in spring 2008, traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Hendricks's work was featured on the cover of the April 2009 issue of Artforum Magazine, with an extensive review of Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool. Hendricks is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City.