About Benny


An Interview with Benny Andrews
Produced by Staniski Media, 2003

Benny Andrews in the studio and in conversation with filmmaker Stanley J. Staniski. Andrews discusses his family history, his path from Georgia, to Chicago, to New York, and his development as an artist.


WNYC's Views on Art: Benny Andrews
Interview with Views on Art host Ruth Bowman
May 1, 1973

In 1973, Benny Andrews was a guest on Views on Art, a program on New York's public radio station, WNYC. In this wide-ranging interview, Andrews discusses his recent exhibition of work from his Bicentennial Series, the challenge of making paintings, his work teaching in Queens College, and the arts education program he established in the New York state prison system. 


Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power
by Susan E. Cahan
Duke University Press, 2016

Mounting Frustration chronicles African American artists' struggle for inclusion in the museum system and the historical canon during the 1960s and 70s. Cahan offers a detailed account of Benny Andrews' work co-founding the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), protesting exclusionary museum exhibitions, and negotiating for a greater voice for African Americans in New York's art world.

Up until the sixties, the gallery system would have X number of artists, established artists - like, ten. Those artists very often decided who the one or two young artists would be to come in, like protégés, and then they would be nourished and they would become the next group. And for the average person - average artist - there was no way to enter unless they got, literally, what slaves got: a note from the master to come in. You’d go to a gallery and if you didn’t know some famous artist they’d wonder: Why are you there? . . . The art criticism was just as impossible to deal with. You just sat there like you sat waiting for the morning paper to come . . . And those criticisms were either devastating or they made you; the gallery dealers and curators just looked to what the critics were saying.
— Benny Andrews in conversation with author Susan E. Cahan

Oral history interview with Benny Andrews
June 30, 1968
Archives of American Art,
Smithsonian Institution

In 1968, Benny Andrews sat down for an interview with curator and fellow co-founder of the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC) Henri Ghent. The interview was recorded for the Archives of American Art, which later joined the Smithsonian Institution. Andrews discusses his biography, artwork, and thoughts on race and racism.

Read the complete transcript of the interview here.