Style: Expressionism , Cubism, Modern
Background: Benny Andrews was born on November 13, 1930 in Plainview, Georgia.
Education: He was the first in his family to graduate from high school. Andrews then went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force. Afterwards, the G.I.Bill of Rights afforded him training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Achievements: 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.
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. 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.
He was the director of visual arts for the National Endowment for the Arts from 1982 to 1984. In 1983 he was instrumental in helping form The National Arts Program, which today is the largest coordinated visual arts program in the nation’s history.
Benny Andrews was a Figural painter in the expressionist style style who painted a diverse range of themes of suffering and injustice. . His work hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Louisiana.