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Barkley Hendricks Wins deCordova Sculpture Park’s Rappaport Prize

Barkley Hendricks, Photo Bloke, 2016. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY

Barkley Hendricks, Photo Bloke, 2016.

COURTESY THE ARTIST AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, announced today that Barkley Hendricks is the winner of this year’s Rappaport Prize, which is awarded annually to a contemporary artist whose work is tied to New England. Hendricks, who lives in Connecticut, will receive $25,000 from the museum.

Hendricks’s work typically takes the form of full-body portraits. Since the mid-’60s, the artist has been painting black Americans he saw on city streets. Set against flat, monochromatic backgrounds, these portraits are sly subversions of an art-historical genre—they bring to the fore the economic and social factors that guide his subjects’ lives, and they also revise portraiture to include black, typically middle- and lower-class sitters. Hendricks’s portraits have gone on to inspire such artists as Kehinde Wiley and Mickalene Thomas.

“His work is beautiful, thought-provoking, and culturally relevant,” John B. Ravenal, the executive director of the deCordova, said in a statement. In response, Hendricks said, “A big thank you to deCordova for this award. I feel honored to be the recipient of the Rappaport Prize. I am proud of my relationship with John Ravenal and [chief curator] Jennifer Gross; deCordova is lucky to have two hip people at the lead.”

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