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Benny Andrews

Benny Andrews

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Andrews was born into a family of ten on November 13, 1930 in small community called Plainview, Georgia. His mother Viola was very strict on her beliefs, and constantly promoted education, religion and most importantly, freedom of expression. George, Andrew’s father, also taught the same beliefs to his children. George, internationally known as the "Dot Man," was a self-taught artist, and produced many illustrative drawings that influenced Andrews.
Although the importance of education was stressed, Andrews’s number of absences accumulated due to the days he was needed on the field. Andrews graduated in 1948, from Burney Street High School in Madison, making him the first in his family to graduate high school. Andrews attended Fort Valley College on a two-year scholarship. There was only one art program offered at the institution, due to poor grades and the end of his scholarship Andrews left and joined the U.S. Air force in 1950.
Afterwards, the G.I. Bill of Rights afforded him training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his BFA. His first New York solo show was in 1962. From 1968 to 1997, Andrews taught at Queens College, City University of New York and created a prison arts program that became a model for the nation.
After graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago he received the John Hay Whitney Fellowship for 1965-1966 and a CAPS award from the New York State Council on the arts in 1971 the same the same year he created the painting No More Games, a noted work which is about the plight of black artists and an iconic reflection of his emerging social justice work in the art world.

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Benny Andrews (November 13, 1930 – November 10, 2006) was an African-American painter, printmaker, and creator of collages. He studied at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, during the 1950's, where he began his interest in painting. After, in 1958, he moved to New York, New York to pursue his artistic and activist practice. These practices would include the production of art education programs at the Queens College that served unprivileged students, and the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (1969). His discipline has contributed to making other artists of color, like Howardena Pindell, Sam Gillian, and Roy DeCarava, visible within art museums and the historical canon. He is a recipient of many awards, such as, the John Hay Whitney Fellowship (1965–66), the New York Council on the Arts fellowships (1971–81), and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1974–81).

Benny Andrews was born into a family of ten on November 13, 1930 in small community called Plainview, Georgia to George and Viola (nee Perryman) Andrews. His parents were sharecroppers. His mother had strong beliefs, and both parents promoted education, religion and most importantly, freedom of expression. George, internationally known as the "Dot Man," was a self-taught artist, and produced many illustrative drawings that influenced Andrews.

Although the importance of education was stressed, Andrews could not attend school when he was needed to work in the field picking or planting cotton. Therefore, he only attended high school during the winter months. Andrews graduated in 1948, from Burney Street High School in Madison, making him the first in his family to graduate high school. Andrews attended Forth Valley College on a two-year scholarship. However, there was only one art program offered and his grades were poor so, when his scholarship ran out, Andrews left college to join the U.S. Air Force where he served from 1950 to 1953. Having served in the United States Air Force, he was able to use the G.I. Bill of Rights to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he was trained as an abstract expressionist and received his BFA.

In 1962, he had his first New York solo exhibit at the Forum Gallery, which received a positive review from the New York Times.

From 1968 to 1997, Andrews taught at Queens College, City University of New York and created a prison arts program that became a model for the nation.

After graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago, he received the John Hay Whitney Fellowship for 1965-1966 and a CAPS award from the New York State Council on the Arts in 1971. The same year, he created the painting No More Games, a noted work about the plight of black artists and an iconic reflection of his emerging social justice work in the art world.

In 1969, Andrews co-founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC) an organization that protested the 'Harlem on my Mind' exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. They protested the fact that no African-Americans were involved in organizing the show and it contained no art only photo reproductions and copies of newspaper articles about Harlem. The BECC then persuaded the Whitney Museum to launch a similar exhibition of African American Artists, but later boycotted that show as well for similar reasons. In 2006, he traveled to the Gulf Coast to work on an art project with children displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

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Benny Andrews Artworks
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