Tuesday, 22 May 2012

'Birth of the Cool'

Barkley L. Hendrix's 1969 collection of  portraits under the title 'Birth of the Cool'. Infusing western-art influences from pop culture, american realism, renaissance portraiture and postmodernism to create artworks that are uniquely his own. He uses the traditional conventions of renaissance portaiture fused with the glorification of ordinary subjects of postmodernism. Drawing from references to popular culture, Hendrix creates portraits that are easily recognisable in a modern day context. Pulling ordinary people up to celebrity status in a matter of swishes of his paint brush.

I love these images as they do embodie the essence of cool. Hendrix is welcoming a new era of empowerment not only for the african-American population but also for creatives, women and culture. Even though some of these themes are specific to the atmosphere of the 60s and 70s, when the definition of race, class and gender were being challenged; the style and themes in these images still resonate today. To quote Coco Chanel 'Fashions fade, Style is eternal' (evidence of a childhood raised on FTV) This is only too evident in these paintings.
babes u got styyyleeee

Here's a cool documentry clip about the exhibition of the artwork at the Nasher Art Museum at Duke University.


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