"Birth of the Cool"

Anyone interested in the urban - and the urbane - will find a lot to like in the artwork of Barkley L. Hendricks, on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Visitors will see immediately that the exhibition's title, "Birth of the Cool," is appropriate: Many of the realistic, life-size portraits Hendricks has created over the years are of his sophisticated African-American friends and neighbors. Created between 1964 and the present, they're nuanced portrayals of, well, cool people, often superbly dressed in timely fashion. The Philadelphia-born, Connecticut-based artist isn't overtly political, but the portraits are powerful nonetheless for the historical black archetypes they evoke: the civil rights warrior, the Shaft-like urban hero, the disco lover. It's enough to make Miles Davis jealous. There's an opening reception 7 to 10 p.m. on January 29. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through April 18. 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit www.camh.org. Free.
Fri., Jan. 29, 7-10 p.m.; Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 29. Continues through April 18, 2010
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Julia Ramey