Active in New York, N.Y.
Size: Transcript: 29 pages
Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformated in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 12 min.
Collection Summary: An interview of Benny Andrews conducted 1968 June 30, by Henri Ghent, for the Archives of American Art.
Andrews remembers his childhood on a sharecropping farm in Georgia, difficulties he faced being light-skinned, and his struggle to get an education. He speaks of the role of the 4-H Club in his escape from that life and his attempts at painting using improvised materials. Andrews describes how he worked his way to college and joined the Air Force. He recalls passing himself off as white in certain situations, the insights into race relations he was able to gain that way, and his consciousness of being black as it affects his art. He notes the importance of other artists who encouraged him, and ends with a general characterization of his work.
Biographical/Historical Note: Benny Andrews (1930-2006) was a painter and lecturer from New York, New York.
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.