Skip to content
Back to top Back to Artists«

Benny Andrews (1930-2006)'s all a damn game

A live conceptual acoustic sound quilt for brass choir, in honor of Benny Andrews - Performed by Matana Roberts and Special Guests
Filmed on the occasion of the exhibition, "Benny Andrews: The Bicentennial Series" (November 7, 2016 – January 21, 2017)
Defined as a “major talent” and “the spokeswoman for a new, politically conscious and refractory Jazz scene,” Matana Roberts is internationally renowned for her multi-disciplinary work that includes dance, poetry, and theater. Chicago-raised and New York City-based, Roberts received her essential training from free arts programs in the American public school system. In the early 2000s, she made two records as a core member of Sticks and Stones quartet and she has since gone on to release a diverse body of solo and ensemble work under her own name. To date, she is perhaps best known for her acclaimed Coin Coin project, a multi-chapter work of “panoramic sound quilting” that aims to expose the mystical roots and the intuitive spirit-raising traditions of American creative expression. In 2014, Matana received the Doris Duke Impact Award and the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.
Matana Roberts - saxophone, composition, conduction
Darius Jones - saxophone
Andrew D'Angelo - saxophone
Evan Rapport - saxophone
Paula Henderson - saxophone
Ras Moshe - saxophone
Craig Shenker – saxophone
Filmed on location at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 100 Eleventh Ave, New York City on November 12, 2016.
Video production by John Neitzel-Digital Destinations
Copyright 2016 Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC


New & Noteworthy

Time Out Magazine, October 19-25, 2016

Time Out Magazine, October 19-25, 2016

Gallery Guide

Download PDF

Traditional Home, October 2016

Traditional Home, October 2016

by Judith Dobrzynski

Download PDF



Benny Andrews: The Bicentennial Series

Download PDF



Download PDF

ArtNews, May 2012

ArtNews, May 2012

by Mona Molarsky

Download PDF

International Review of African American Art, 2010

International Review of African American Art, 2010

by Pellom McDaniels III

Download PDF

The Boston Globe, November 6, 1994

The Boston Globe, November 6, 1994

by Nancy Stapen

Download PDF

American Artist, March 1981

American Artist, March 1981

Download PDF

Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, 1980

Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, 1980

by Benny Andrews

Download PDF

St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 9, 1976

St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 9, 1976

by Patricia Rice

Download PDF

Art Workers News, Feb-March 1976

Art Workers News, Feb-March 1976

by Benny Andrews

Download PDF

Amsterdam News, January 31, 1976

Amsterdam News, January 31, 1976

by Stephanie Bell

Download PDF

Art Material Trade News, June 1973

Art Material Trade News, June 1973

by Benny Andrews

Download PDF

Prints & Publications

Artist Information

“I don’t really think that art really does that much in terms of any kind of social change. . . . I think it always remains a selfish outlet for the individual. And even though they’ve thought up kinda nice words for people who try to be creative, the truth is, that if you try to be creative, you really have to be a very selfish, ego-centered person who has this ego to believe that if you do an apple it will convey something that the millions of people who paint apples all the time do not.”[1]

Benny Andrews (1930-2006) was born to a family of ten children to George and Viola Andrews in Plainview, Georgia, a rural farming community near Madison. For the first thirteen years of Benny’s life, his family lived and worked on land owned by the Orr family, which had built its fortune on the labor of slaves before the Civil War. As many historians have pointed out, Andrews’ family history reflects the contradictions regarding race relations in the United States. His paternal great-grandfather, William Jackson Orr, had been an officer in the Confederate Army, and his paternal grandfather, James Orr, spent over fifty years in a relationship with Jessie Andrews, Benny’s grandmother. Andrews’ father, George, worked as a sharecropper on Orr family land. Thus, Andrews was born into a system that closely resembled the system of slavery that had held his ancestors.

Despite the brutality of sharecropping, Andrews recalled his childhood as a happy one. In 1935, the family built and moved into a two-room wood-frame house on Orr land. Andrews began working in the fields as a young child, but he also attended the Plainview Elementary School, a one-and-a-half-room log cabin built by the black community in Plainview. Following in the footsteps of his father, a self-taught artist, Andrews began drawing at the age of three; by the time he was in elementary school, he had started to create his own comics. In 1943, the Andrews family moved to Madison to work on land managed by C.R. Mason. Because education beyond the seventh grade was strongly discouraged, Viola Andrews, who was determined to provide an education for her children, worked out an arrangement with the Mason family that enabled Benny to attend school when it was not possible to work in the fields. Andrews enrolled at Burney Street High School, graduating in 1948. Through a small amount of funding from a 4-H Club scholarship, Andrews was able to attend Georgia’s Fort Valley State College. However, his scholarship ran out after two years, and Andrews was disappointed with the lack of opportunities to study art. He left Fort Valley and enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving in the Korean War and attaining the rank of staff sergeant before receiving an honorable discharge in 1954. With funding from the GI Bill, Andrews enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1958, he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and moved to New York City.

In New York, Andrews lived on Suffolk Street, where he met and befriended other Lower East Side figurative expressionists, including Red Grooms, Bob Thompson, Lester Johnson and Nam June Paik. He frequented local bars, jazz clubs, and coffee shops, drawing and painting his surroundings. By the 1960s, Andrews had mastered his “rough collage” technique, explaining, “I started working with collage because I found oil paint so sophisticated, and I didn’t want to lose my sense of rawness.” In 1962, Bella Fishko invited him to become a member of Forum Gallery, which held his first New York solo exhibition. Additional solo exhibitions at the gallery followed in 1964 and 1966. In 1965, with funding from a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, Andrews traveled home to Georgia and began working on his Autobiographical Series. In 1966, Andrews was featured in an exhibition with fellow figurative painter Alice Neel at the Countee Cullen Regional Branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. Both activists concerned with inequality and injustice, they formed a close and lifelong friendship. They also painted portraits of each other: in 1972, Neel completed Benny and Mary Ellen Andrews, which is currently in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and Andrews painted his Portrait of Alice Neel in 1985.

In 1970, Andrews began working on the Bicentennial Series as a response to the national celebrations planned for the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. Skeptical of the national mood of celebration and nostalgia, Andrews worried about whether the voices of contemporary African Americans would be included as part of the planning. He also feared that black Americans would be omitted from the official forms of national remembrance, or, conversely, that they would be included, but that the considerable contributions of African Americans to US history would be defined exclusively in terms of slavery. In his journal, Andrews described this project as “a Black artist’s expression of how he portrays his dreams, experiences, and hopes along with the despair, anger, and depression to so many other Americans' actions.” The Studio Museum in Harlem presented the first completed works of The Bicentennial Series in 1971. In 1975, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta presented four subseries from The Bicentennial Series; the exhibition traveled to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY and the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston. In 2016-17, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery presented Benny Andrews: The Bicentennial Series, which included the paintings and drawings for the six individual subseries that make up the whole body of work—Symbols, Trash, Circle, Sexism, War, and Utopia.

A self-described “people’s painter,” Andrews focused on figurative social commentary depicting the struggles, atrocities, and everyday occurrences in the world. His co-founding in 1969 of the Rhino Horn Group (along with Jay Milder, Peter Passuntino, Nicholas Sperakis, Peter Dean, Michael Fauerbach, Bill Barrell, Leonel Gongora, and Ken Bowman) affirmed his commitment to figural work even as various abstract movements gained ascendancy. However, in his mind, art was no substitute for action. To that end, Andrews also embarked on a long career as an educator, activist, and advocate. In 1968, he began teaching at Queens College, City University of New York, where he was part of the college’s SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) program, designed to help high school students from underserved areas prepare for college. In 1969, he became a founding member of the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), which formed coalitions with other artists’ groups, protested the exclusion of women and men of color from institutional and historical canons, advocated for greater representation of black artists, curators, and intellectuals within major museums, and facilitated art education. In 1971, the art classes Andrews had been teaching at the Manhattan Detention Complex (“the Tombs”) became the cornerstone of a major prison art program initiated under the auspices of the BECC that expanded across the country. In 1976, Andrews became the art coordinator for the Inner City Roundtable of Youths (ICRY)—an organization comprised of gang members in the New York metropolitan area who seek to combat youth violence by strengthening urban communities. That same year, he picketed the Whitney Museum’s John D. Rockefeller III Exhibition of American Artists, which claimed to exhibit 300 years of American art, but contained not a single work by a black artist and only one (white) woman. From 1982 to 1984, he directed the Visual Arts Program, a division of the National Endowment for the Arts (1982-84), initiating a project to enable artists to obtain health insurance. In 2002, the Benny Andrews Foundation was established to help emerging artists gain greater recognition and encourage artists to donate their work to historically black museums. Shortly before his death in 2006, Andrews was working on a project in the Gulf Coast with children displaced by Hurricane Katrina.


Andrews began his final major series in 2004. Titled the Migrant Series, he intended to represent three moments of mass displacement in US history. Between 2004 and 2006, he took three separate trips for this series: following the routes taken by Dust Bowl migrants during the Great Depression, along the path of Cherokee people force-marched from their Mississippi homeland in 1838 on what became known as the Trail of Tears, and to New Orleans and the Gulf coast to study areas devastated by flooding in the wake of Katrina. He completed The Trail of Tears in 2005 before dying of cancer the following year.

Several solo exhibitions were organized in the wake of Andrews’ death. In 2007 alone, the Ogden Museum mounted a memorial exhibition; solo shows opened at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL, and the Trois Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA. Later that year, Atlanta’s Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia showed Benny Andrews: A Georgia Artist Comes Home and Andrews’ series dedicated to civil rights activist John Lewis was exhibited at the Tubman Museum in Macon, GA. In 2014, this series was also the focus of a solo exhibition at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA. In 2013, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery presented Benny Andrews: There Must Be A Heaven, the first comprehensive retrospective since the artist’s death. In 2017, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery presented Benny Andrews: The Bicentennial Series, including paintings and drawings completed between 1970 and 1975. The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated color catalogue with an essay by Pellom McDaniels III, Ph.D., Curator of African American collections in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Library at Emory University in Atlanta. Benny Andrews: Portraits, A Real Person Before The Eyes was Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s third solo exhibition of Andrews’ work in the fall of 2020, focusing on the vital role of portraiture throughout his career. In 2022 The McNay Art Museum presented True Believers: Benny Andrews & Deborah Roberts, the first exhibition to examine the formal and thematic overlaps in the work of the two artists. That same year, Andrews’ Revival Series was the subject of an exhibition at High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. In 2023, Crisscrosses: Benny Andrews and the Poetry of Langston Hughes opened at The Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, with a companion exhibition at Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library titled At the Crossroads with Benny Andrews, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Walker. That same year, in Andrews’ hometown, The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison, GA opened the permanent exhibit, The Andrews Family Legacy, exploring the important cultural contributions of Andrews and several of his family members. To mark the occasion, the seventeen paintings that comprise Andrews’ John Lewis Series were loaned to The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA, for a year-long exhibition.   

Andrews’ work has been included in numerous important group exhibitions, most notably the acclaimed traveling exhibitions Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, which traveled to the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH and the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX (2014); Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at its last two venues, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA and The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX (2020); The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse (2021–2023) organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia (Richmond); and Afro-Atlantic Histories, curated by Kanitra Fletcher of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2022-2023). Internationally, Andrews’ work has been part of group exhibitions such as The Color Line: African American Artists and Segregation at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France (2016); Cultural Freedom and the Cold War at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2017); Tell Me Your Story: 100 Years of Storytelling in African American Art, Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort, The Netherlands (2020); and The Modern City: Urban Experience and Identity in the Art of the United States, 1893-1976, organized by the Terra Foundation for American Art, at Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Brazil (2022). In 2024, Andrews’ work was featured in Edges of Ailey, curated by Adrienne Edwards at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, and Surrealism and Us: Caribbean and African Diasporic Artists since 1940, at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Fort Worth, TX.

Andrews’ work is represented in several public collections including the Albany Museum of Art (NY); Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); Arkansas Art Center (Little Rock, AK); Art Institute of Chicago (IL); Birmingham Museum of Art (AL); Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Brunswick, ME); Brandywine Workshop and Archives (Philadelphia, PA); Brooklyn Museum (NY); Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH); Chrysler Museum of Art (Norfolk, VA); Columbus Museum (GA); Detroit Institute of Arts (MI); High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA); Gibbes Museum (Charleston, SC); Grey Art Gallery, New York University (New York, NY); Guilford College Art Gallery, Guilford College (Greensboro, NC); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); Hofstra University Museum of Art (Hempstead, NY); Hood Museum Dartmouth (Hanover, NH); Howard University Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Los Angeles, CA); Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (TN); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY); Milwaukee Art Museum (WI); Mississippi Museum of Art (Jackson, MS); MIT List Visual Arts Center (Cambridge, MA); Mobile Museum of Art (AL); Morris Museum of Art (Augusta GA); Museum of Contemporary Art (Augusta, GA); Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA); Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); National Museum of African American History & Culture, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); New Jersey State Museum (Trenton, NJ); Newark Museum (NJ); Ogden Museum of Southern Art New (Orleans, LA); Palm Springs Art Museum (CA); Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA); The Phillips Collection (Washington, DC); San Jose Museum of Art (CA); Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC); Telfair Museum of Art (Savannah, GA); The Rockwell Museum (Corning; NY); The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, NY); Tubman Museum (Macon, GA); Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University (KS); Wichita Art Museum (KS); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, CT); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); and the Xavier University Art Collection (New Orleans, LA).

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC has represented the Benny Andrews Estate since 2009.

[1] Phil Williams and Linda Williams, “Interview with Benny Andrews,” Artaxia 4, 1975. Reprinted on The Georgia Review website,, accessed January 2012



Albany Museum of Art, Albany, GA

Allen University, Columbia, SC

Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA

Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff, AR

The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD

Benedict College, Columbia, SC

Bennett College, Greensboro, NC

Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, FL

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME

Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Philadelphia, PA

Bringham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, UT

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC

Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA

Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR

The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI

Dillard University, New Orleans, LA

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL

Furlong Gallery, University of Wisconsin - Stout, Menomonie, WI

Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Georgia State Art Collection, Atlanta, GA

Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC

Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection, New York University, New York, NY

Guilford College Art Gallery, Guilford College, Greensboro, NC

Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta, GA

Hampton University Museum, Hampton University, Hampton, VA

Harlem Art Collection, New York State Office of General Services, Albany, NY and New York, NY

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Levine Center for the Arts, Charlotte, NC

Henry Clinton Taylor Collection, University Galleries, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Hofstra University Museum of Art, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Housatonic Museum of Art, Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport, CT

Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN

Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL

ITC (Interdenominational Theology Center), Atlanta, GA

Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, TX

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (the State Art Museum of Florida), Florida State University, Sarasota, FL

Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC

Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI

LaGrange Art Museum, LaGrange, GA

Legacy Museum, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Lehigh University Art Galleries, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis, TN

Lane College Library, Lane College, Jackson, TN

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, CA

Maier Museum of Art, Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA

McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY 

Miles College, Fairfield, AL

Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN

Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS

MIT List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL

Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA

Morris College, Sumter, SC

Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA), Atlanta, GA

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY 

National Academy of Design, New York, NY

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., New York, NY, and Washington, DC

National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Newark Museum, Newark, NJ

New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA

Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan

The Ohio State University, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA        

The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Philander Smith College, Little Rock, AR

The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

The Rockwell Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Corning, NY

Rust College, Holly Springs, MS

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO

San José Museum of Art, San José, CA

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, New York NY

Shaw University, Raleigh, NC

Smith College Museum of Art, Smith College, Northampton, MA

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

Special Collections, Wright-Potts Library, Voorhees College, Denmark, SC

Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

Talladega College, Talladega, AL

Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA

Texas College, Tyler, TX

Tougaloo College Art Collections, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS

The Tubman Museum, Macon, GA

Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS

United Negro College Fund, Washington, DC

University of Delaware, Museums Collections, Library, Museums and Press, Newark, DE

University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI

University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, WY

Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS

The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Wiley College, Marshall, TX

Xavier University of Louisiana Art Collection, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA

Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, Eatonville, FL

John Hay Whitney Fellowship

New York Council on the Arts Fellowships

MacDowell Colony Fellowships, 1975-78

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

O'Hara Museum Prize, Tokyo, Japan

Bellagio Study and Conference Center Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy
President's Research Award, Queen's College

Member, National Academy of Design, New York, NY

President’s Award to The Benny Andrews Foundation, United Negro College Fund, Fairfax, VA



Biographical Note

Benny Andrews, African American painter and collage artist, was born November 13, 1930 in Madison, Georgia. He was the second of a family of ten children of George and Viola (Perryman) Andrews, sharecroppers. He married Mary Ellen Smith in 1957 (divorced 1976), two sons and one daughter; married Nene Humphrey, 1986. He served in the United States Air Force as a staff sergeant from 1950-1954. He attended Fort Valley State College (Georgia) from 1948-1950 and then the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 1958.

After graduating from Burney Street High School in 1948, Andrews received a college scholarship for his work in the local 4-H organization. He spent a summer in Atlanta painting murals, then enrolled in Georgia's Fort Valley State College. Two years later, when the scholarship ended, he enlisted in the Air Force. Andrews trained in Texas, then served in Korea until 1954, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

Returning to civilian life, Andrews enrolled at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During his years at art school, Andrews earned money as an illustrator for record companies and drawing advertising illustrations for various theater companies in Chicago. Andrews earned his BFA in 1958 and moved to New York, settling on the Lower East Side. During the next seven years, they had two sons, Christopher and Thomas, and a daughter, Julia. His wife took an office job to support the family, while Andrews stayed at home, took care of the children, and painted.

Between 1960 and 1970, he had eleven solo shows at the Paul Kessler Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and three at the Forum Gallery in New York City. In 1965, Andrews received a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, which was renewed the following year. In addition to his success as an artist, Andrews earned a reputation as a political activist, fighting for recognition of African American artists and culture. He died on November 10, 2006.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Benny Andrews from 1940-2006. The papers include correspondence, exhibit files, files relating the his organizational work with the National Arts Program files and the National Endowment for the Arts, photographs, printed material, writings and illustrations, audio-visual material, artwork, and Andrews family correspondence and papers.
Arrangement Note

Organized into eleven series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Exhibit files, (3) Organization files, (4) Photographs, (5) Personal files, (6) Printed material, (7) Subject files, (8) Writings/Illustrations, (9) Andrews family correspondence and papers, (10) Audiovisual materials, (11) Artwork, and (12) Unprocessed additions.