On View: Three Upcoming Exhibitions by Groundbreaking Bay Area Artist, Mike Henderson


Mike Henderson:
Three Upcoming Exhibitions by Groundbreaking Bay Area Artist

This fall marks an unprecedented opportunity for viewers to experience the work of pioneering African American artist Mike Henderson, whose paintings and films have been an integral part of the Bay Area art scene for over fifty years. Henderson, whose singular vision has been shaped by both shifting political landscapes and his own ceaseless formal invention, will be the subject of two solo exhibitions, and is included in a critically acclaimed group show that travels to the de Young Museum in November. This suite of exhibitions will offer viewers unparalleled insight into the vital and vibrant practice of an artist whose historical trajectory and contemporary relevance is now accessible for critical reappraisal.

Mike Henderson: Honest to Goodness
Walter and McBean Galleries – San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
On View through November 17, 2019

Bringing together a selection of Henderson’s paintings, mixed-media works, drawings, and films the exhibition Honest to Goodness provides viewers with the first overview of Henderson’s diverse practice. The works on view range from the artist’s large-scale, overtly political paintings of the 1960s created while he was a student at SFAI; to the recent lush and ethereal abstract canvases for which he has become well-known. These paintings are presented in dialogue with a selection of Henderson’s experimental short films, created in the 1970s and 1980s; and an installation of the artist’s works on paper, offering a fascinating window into his practice.


Mike Henderson: At the Edge of Paradise
Haines Gallery
49 Geary Street, Suite 540, San Francisco, CA 94108
On view: November 7 – December 14, 2019

For his latest solo exhibition at Haines Gallery, At the Edge of Paradise, Henderson presents a suite of newly created, large-scale abstract paintings whose complex palettes and carefully worked surfaces explore the tension between gestural and geometric abstraction. Radiant with possibility, Henderson’s latest works reflect an artist who has arrived at his prime.


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983
de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
On view: November 9, 2019 – March 15, 2020

An important early work by Henderson, created while he was a student at SFAI, will be included in the San Francisco presentation of the Tate Modern’s groundbreaking exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983. Powerful, provocative, and timely, Soul of a Nation brings together works by African American artists created during the Civil Rights Movement and the decades that followed. “Presenting work that has not been adequately historicized due to the artists’ skin color and their pursuit of themes that challenge dominant narratives, Soul of a Nation is an electric exhibition that attests to how significantly racial biases have limited the canon.” (Elizabeth Fullerton, Art in America)

In conjunction with Soul of a Nation, Henderson and his band will perform at the de Young on November 16, as part of the Museum’s Free Saturdays programming.

Henderson’s early work will also be the subject of a major retrospective, Mike Henderson, Before the Fire, 1965-1985, opening at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis in July 2022. Before the Fire is curated by Dan Nadel, with consulting scholar Bridget Cooks.

About the Artist

Mike Henderson (b. 1944, Marshall, MO; lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area) received his BFA (1969) and MFA (1970) from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1973) and two National Endowment for the Arts Artist Grants (1978, 1989). Henderson’s paintings and films have been exhibited in such distinguished institutions as Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL.

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