In conjunction with the Visiting Artists and Scholars lecture series, SFAI is pleased to present a selection of short films by Bay Area-based painter and musician Mike Henderson. Rarely-seen 16mm films from the 1970s will be screened in the Osher Lecture Hall, including Dufus (aka Art) (1970/73), The Last Supper (1970/73), Rocking Chair (1972), Pitchfork and the Devil (1979), and Down Hear (1972).
Pioneering Bay Area artist Mike Henderson is a renowned painter, blues musician and experimental filmmaker. As a young artist and musician, and SFAI student, in the mid-1960s, Henderson entrenched himself in the political rallies of the era. Inspired by these events, his artwork leaned toward the figurative, but after a fire destroyed many of his unsold paintings in 1985, he began to create increasingly more abstract pieces. In the 1960s, Henderson was one of the first independent African-American artists making experimental films. Today, Henderson has created more than 25 films, which have been described as “wickedly funny and politically charged.” One film, Down Hear, tells the history of slave shipping through a charged performance by Henderson and his brother Raymond.
Henderson’s work as a painter and filmmaker has been exhibited in such distinguished institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Crocker Art Museum, de Young Museum, di Rosa, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His paintings are included in the collections of SFMOMA, Oakland Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, and Honolulu Academy of Art.
Henderson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973 and is a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant. He was a recipient of the 2003/2004 Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Artists. Henderson received his BFA ('69) and MFA ('70) from the San Francisco Art Institute, and is professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis. He lives and creates in San Leandro, CA. Henderson is represented in San Francisco by Haines Gallery.
This screening is organized by April Martin (BFA 2019) and presented in conjunction with Mike Henderson’s Visiting Artists and Scholars lecture at SFAI on March 6. The film prints for this screening have been generously loaned from the Academy Film Archive in Hollywood, CA, with the help of Henderson’s archivist Mark Toscano.
Image: Film still from Mike Henderson, Dufus (aka Art) (1970/73). Courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.