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Geoffrey Hendricks

Survey – Art Basel Miami Beach
Booth S12



photo by Francesco Conz


Geoffrey Hendricks (1931-2018)
was a core participant in the Fluxus group of the mid-to-late-20th Century, conceiving and performing such events as the Flux Divorce, and numerous Flux Masses beginning in the 1970s. For over 50 years, Hendricks also had a rigorous conceptual solo practice, creating Happenings, art objects, and installations involving nature, the body, and ideas of chance. 

His most famous works were images of the sky, earning him the moniker “Cloudsmith.”  Hendricks, from the 1960s until his death, painted the sky repeatedly on everyday objects, from a pair of work boots to a VW Beetle (driven across Europe) and his own body. He also made hundreds of watercolors of the sky from his home in New York City and during his travels around the globe.

A leader in the queer community, Hendricks helped found the Archive Project of Visual AIDS in the 1980s, and worked collaboratively at different times with partners Stephen Varble, Brian Buczak, and Sur Rodney (Sur).






Geoffrey Hendricks
Sky Boots, 1965
acrylic on leather work boots
10 × 12 × 15 inches (25.40 × 30.48 × 38.10 cm)

provenance: the Geoffrey Hendricks Estate

Sky Boots, 1965, were made from a pair of work boots found by Hendricks in the barn of his newly acquired house on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  Hendricks often painted the sky on everyday objects like button-down shirts, towels, pillowcases, window shades, shovels, and road signs, pointing to both an intimacy and performativity that were integral to his practice. Sky Boots is Hendricks’s earliest sky-painted object, and the precursor to editioned bronzes of the same subject (made from a separate pair of work boots found in New York City). This sculpture was included in MoMA’s circulating exhibition “Contemporary American Still Life” in 1966, and showed alongside works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jane Freilicher, and Claes Oldenburg.



2003 Between Earth and Sky (In Knowing One, One Will Know the Other), Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, Canada, curated by Shauna McCabe, 2003
travelled to Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Windsor in 2005

2000 Diozesanmuseum Freising, Freising, DE

1993 Day into Night Retrospective Kunsthallen Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense,
travelled to Municipal Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland, Porin; Taidemuseo, Pori,
Finland; Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden (Oslo) Norway; and Center of
Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland in 1994

1984 Neue Galerie, Sammlung Ludwig, Aachen, Germany, ca. 1984
The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland, December
Geoffrey Hendricks and Therese Nortved, Henie-Onstad Art Center, Kunstsentret, Høvikodden, Oslo, Norway, June-July

1966-67 Contemporary American Still Life – traveling exhibition circulated by MoMA November 1966- January 1968, curated by William H. Gerdts



Between Earth and Sky, published by Confederation Centre Art Gallery, 2003. (illustrated)

Geoffrey Hendricks: Day into Night, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark, 1993

Geoffrey Hendricks, Berliner Kunstlerprogramm des DAAD, 1984 (illustrated)

Geoffrey Hendricks
Sky Ladder #43, ca.1980
wooden ladder, 14 double-sided watercolors, string, 3 tin ex votos
164 × 21 ½ × 3 ½ inches (416.56 × 54.61 × 8.89 cm)

provenance: the Geoffrey Hendricks Estate

Hendricks created numerous Sky Ladder pieces for exhibitions, with each ladder sourced in the vicinity of the show’s locale. These ladders acted as display systems for recently painted sky watercolors and other objects suspended by string between their rungs. Sky Ladder #43 is particularly striking for its height, its double-sided watercolors, and the addition of metal ex votos shaped as hands and feet. The ladder reaches over 14 feet high, and is installed as it had originally shown in Europe and the US, freestanding in the space so viewers can see each side as it reaches to the sky. Italian ex votos were traditionally bought by penitents to cure ailments. After the ailment abated the metal object was donated to the church as a thanksgiving. The ex votos in Sky Ladder #43 would have implied that one’s feet and hands would be protected when climbing up to the sky. Sky Ladder #43 was also presented at Hendricks’ memorial service at the Judson Church in 2018.



2005 Between Earth and Sky (in knowing one, one will know the other), Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, Canada
Between Earth & Sky (in knowing one, one knows the other), Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario. Canada

2003 Between Earth and Sky (in knowing one, one will know the other), Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, June – October

1999 Sky Notes: (1-22), Emily Harvey Gallery, New York, NY, Jan. 29 – Feb. 27

1994 Day Into Night, Center of Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland, May 30 – July 30
Day Into Night,  Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden (Oslo) Norway, August 20 – September 25
Day Into Night, Porin Taidemuseo, Pori, Finland, March 12 – May 1

1993 Day into Night, Retrospective Exhibition Kunsthallen Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense, Denmark, June 25 – September 12
Day Into Night, Kjarvalsstadir, Municipal Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland, January 8 – February 13

Geoffrey Hendricks
Sky/Slate Wall, 1999 – 2023
watercolor on paper with slate roofing tile
192 × 120 × 1 inches (487.68 × 304.80 × 2.54 cm)

provenance: the Geoffrey Hendricks Estate

Geoffrey Hendricks first envisioned a Sky/Slate Wall after his historic townhouse in New York was re-roofed in the 1990s. Seeing the original roof slates stacked to be discarded, he noticed that they had markings that could be read as evocative of sky imagery.  He became interested in the marks resulting from their function as a barrier or membrane between home and sky, the slates having many days and nights in conversation with the sky. Hendricks then paired sky watercolors in similar size and orientation to intersperse between the slates, creating a large skyscape, a configuration largely intuited and changing for each iteration. Hendricks developed and exhibited Sky/Slate Walls a number of times, each time with different slates, usually sourced locally and with watercolors he made on his travels. True to Hendricks’ process, this iteration (made with the original slates from his home), was composed to fit the exhibition space with Sur Rodney (Sur), Hendricks spouse and installation and performance collaborator from 1995-2018.


versions exhibited

2020 Skies and Stairs, Gian Marco Casini Gallery, Livorno, Italy

2019 Skies, Galerie Eva Vautier, Nice, France

2017 More Than 100 Skies, Fondation du Doute, Blois, France

2013 About Earth and Sky, NiROX PROJECTS at Arts on Main, Johannesburg, ZA, curated by Sur Rodney (Sur)

2006 Continuing Sky Dialogues, Pavel Zoubok, New York, NY
Geoffrey Hendricks – Boxes, Ladders, Slates & Sky”, The Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

2003 Between Earth and Sky (in knowing one, one will know the other), Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, June – October

2000 Constellations, Galleria Caterina Gualco, Genoa, Italy

1999 Sky-Notes 1-22, Emily Harvey Gallery, New York, NY
Sky Measures, Galerie Inge Baecker, Cologne, Germany

Geoffrey Hendricks
Sky Window Shade, 1987
window shade, acrylic
74 × 37 inches (187.96 × 93.98 cm)



Geoffrey Hendricks
Full Moon & Rib Bones, 1999
watercolor on paper, string and bones
22 ½ × 30 inches (57.15 × 76.20 cm)


Geoffrey Hendricks
untitled, 1999
watercolor on paper, and string
22 ½ × 30 inches (57.15 × 76.20 cm)


Geoffrey Hendricks
untitled, 1999
watercolor on paper, string and bones
22 ½ × 30 inches (57.15 × 76.20 cm)


Geoffrey Hendricks
Half Moons, 1999
watercolor on paper, string and bones
22 ½ × 30 inches (57.15 × 76.20 cm)







Statement from Geoffrey Hendricks, 1993


More information about Geoffrey Hendricks available online:

Visit the Estate of Geoffrey Hendricks’ Artist Page on the Klaus Gallery’s website.

Listen to The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art oral history interview with Linda Yablonsky.

Read about Hendricks’ residence and studio on The New York City Historic LGBT site project.

Read Hendricks’ obituary in The New York Times.

Read Hendricks’ obituary in Artforum.



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