This week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen discusses a photographer’s legacy, and women who are leading the way.

“My Mechanical Sketchbook” — Barkley L. Hendricks & Photography

On view at the Rose Art Museum through July 24, 2022

“My Mechanical Sketchbook” celebrates the life and work of multidisciplined artist Barkley L. Hendricks, who passed away in 2017. While the exhibit features paintings by the artist, the art form he’s best known for, the true focus is on his self-described "mechanical sketchbook” — the camera that he used to photograph his life.

“This is something he had draped around his neck and used when he was growing up in North Philadelphia as a child, and then took with him to Europe, where the art world just kind of cracked open for him,” Bowen says.

Rennie Collection - Barkley L. Hendricks | Lorna Simpson
“Self Portrait” by Barkley L. Hendricks.
Photo by Blaine Campbell Courtesy of Rennie Collection

After a 1966 trip to Europe exposed Hendricks to classical painters, whose works were devoid of Black representation, Hendricks took it upon himself to document Black joy.

The show also includes art that references the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederate flag, which some labeled as political art. “[It’s] something that he was accused of being very political about. He hated that term. He never wanted to be considered political, again, because this is how he saw the world,” Bowen says.


Now playing at the Citizens Bank Opera House through March 13, 2022 and streaming March 13 to March 17

To bring attention to the many women who continue to shape the world of dance, Boston Ballet’s latest work highlights five female choreographers with five world premieres, all shown in an hour-and-a-half performance. ChoreograpHER, all together, celebrates the women’s innovation.

The choreographers include Tiler Peck, Claudia Schreier, Shantell Martin, Lia Cirio and Melissa Toogood. “It's a really jam packed, but very, very heartfelt and resonant evening of ballet,” Bowen says.

Boston Ballet in Melissa Toogood's “Butterflies Don't Write Books,” one of five performances at ChoreograpHER.
Rosalie O'Connor Photography Courtesy of Boston Ballet

“What the Constitution Means to Me”
Now playing at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre through March 20, 2022

“What the Constitution Means to Me” tells the story of writer Heidi Schreck, who, at the age of 15, traveled to conferences across the country to debate the Constitution, winning prize money to pay for her college tuition. Through her debates, she develops a critical analysis of how the founding document affects women.

“She moves into her own history and really how the Constitution has intervened in her life as a woman — and in the lives of her grandmother, her mother and her great-grandmother before her,” Bowen says.

But the show is also an examination of what the Constitution means in all Americans’ lives. "We have these words, we have these clauses, we have these designs,” Bowen explains. “But of course, how they’re bent and how they’re twisted and how they continue to change throughout our history.”

Cassie Beck, playing Heidi Schreck in “What The Consitution Means To Me.”
Photo by Joan Marcus Courtesy of the Huntington Theatre