“WHAT’S GOING ON” MAKES US WONDER WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON

Late African-American artist Barkley Hendricks‘s photo-realistic painting titled “What’s Going On” is a beguiling image. The artwork is a group portrait evocative of the time and place — early 1970s America –and brings together a lot of themes and ideas all at once: Race, gender, power, feminism, sex, culture, identity, style and fashion. It’s evocative and otherworldly, though at the first casual glance it just looks like a group portrait. But there’s so much going on upon closer inspection. The painting is currently on view at the Broad Museum of Art in Los Angeles as part of the groundbreaking “Soul of a Nation” exhibition.