Geoffrey Hendricks, From Head to Foot, Anatomy of the Sky, 1988, Silkscreen on cloth, 138 × 160 cm, Edition of 30
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 138 × 160 cm
    (54 ⅜ × 63 inches)
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  • Geoffrey Hendricks was an American artist whose countless representations of the sky in paintings, installations, and performances earned him the moniker of “Cloudsmith.” He developed an early affinity for nature, spending summers with his family on a farm in Vermont. After graduating from Amherst College in Massachusetts and the Yale Norfolk School of Art in Connecticut in 1953, Hendricks moved to New York City, continuing his studies at the Cooper Union School of Art and Columbia University until 1962. At Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he was professor emeritus from 1956 to 2003, Hendricks coordinated and encouraged the visionary work of fellow faculty members such as Robert Watts, Allan Kaprow, George Brecht, and others such as Hermann Nitsch and George Maciunas. The noted publication Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia, and Rutgers University, 1958–1972, edited by Hendricks in 2002, chronicles some of these memorable activities on the Rutgers campus and in New York City and served as a catalog for the eponymous exhibition, curated and staged at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst that same year. The Flux Divorce from his wife Nye Ffarrabas (formerly Bici Forbes) in 1971 and, on the obverse side, his celebration of the Flux Wedding between Maciunas and Billie Hutching in 1978 are two bold examples of Hendricks’s radical contribution to Fluxus. Unlike many of his Fluxus peers, Hendricks favored the use of natural or elemental materials that drew on rural vernacular imagery. Vivid depictions of the sky and clouds appeared on canvases, cars, clothing, and other everyday objects. Since 1973, Hendricks’s works have formed a significant part of Francesco Conz’s collection. The treasured edition Between Two Points. Meditative Rituals (1974–76), a cherrywood case containing relics of three performances and a series of fine black-and-white photographs, was among the first editions curated by Conz and published by Edizioni Pari & Dispari, Reggio Emilia. Hendricks aspired to integrate art and life through a practice rooted in collaboration, a deep appreciation for nature, and precepts of Eastern philosophies. Committed to civil rights, in honor of Brain Buczak and later together with his partner and collaborator Sur Rodney (Sur), Hendricks served on the Board of Directors of the Visual AIDS platform for over a decade. In addition to being represented in some of the world’s most important collections, Hendricks has performed and exhibited internationally, appearing with Fluxus at the Biennale di Venezia (1990), the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden (1992), the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1993), and the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain de Nice (2003).

Artworks (15)