CORRECTION: When'd The NGA Show Such Awesome Barkley Hendricks Paintings?

If there's something I'm happy to be corrected on, it's my assertion earlier this week that the National Gallery of Art has never exhibited its awesome, early, major Barkley Hendricks portraits.

It turns out they have, and here's how we know:

I based my post on two things: the NGA's online database of the paintings' exhibition history, and discussions about the paintings and their documentation with folks in the archive and registrars' offices.

Now a reader who has seen the location reports for each painting emailed to tell me they have, in fact, been shown publicly in the Gallery on various occasions. Turns out the exhibition history refers only to curated exhibitions, in or out of the NGA, in which a work is included. It does not include info on when apiece has been on public view. The location report, meanwhile, is basically a log of wherever a work has been or has been moved. And Hendricks' paintings have been on view. Which is great.

On the real impetus for my post and my investigation, seeing if Hendricks' paintings might turn up in the East Wing Galleries somewhere after completing their victory laps with the "Birth of Cool" retrospective, the reader was sanguine. Contemporary portraits are hard to work into the NGA's hangs, but the appeal and buzz of the Hendrickses is hard to resist. So put that on your HOPE poster.

Thanks to my unidentified reader for the correction.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: April 9, 2010.

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