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Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Full-size image not available for download. Please contact Rights and Reproductions.
Artist: Barkley L. Hendricks, American, 1945–2017, B.F.A./M.F.A. 1972

APB’s (Afro-Parisian Brothers)


Oil and acrylic on linen

182.88 × 127 cm (72 × 50in.)
Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund

From the exhibition Embodied: Black Identities in American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery:

APB’s was composed from a photograph that Barkley Hendricks took in Paris in the 1970s. With their sartorial precision and provocative slickness, the modern dandies in the portrait embody the cosmopolitan coolness of seventies’ black culture. The catchphrase “Black is Beautiful” resounds in their suave tailoring, natural hairstyles, and defiant stance, a self-awareness that plays up on histories of cultural nationalism, political activism, and a Pan-African consciousness associated with the era. While creating a sense of flatness through the monochromatic backdrop, Hendricks also evokes a psychological intensity—a sense of depth—in the surfeit of detail of these men’s spectacular self-fashioning. Read in light of the work’s title, which includes its own shorthand, these brothers—Hendricks included—assert a diasporic consciousness that also questions what black identity could be globally.

On view
20th century

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 164, 203, ill.

Huey Copeland, “Figures and Grounds,” Artforum (April 2009): 148, ill.

Pamela Franks and Robert E. Steele, Embodied: Black Identities in American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2010), 23, 54–56, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.