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Works by George Andrews, Benny Andrews, & Nene Humphrey

George Andrews

George Andrews (1911-1996) was a self-taught artist and the patriarch of a family of artists and writers. Born one of seven children in Plainview, Georgia, his father was a white plantation owner, James Orr, and his mother was an African-American and Cherokee woman of mythic stature, Jessie Rose Lee Wildcat Tennessee (later immortalized in the novels of his son, Raymond Andrews). After completing only three grades of school, he began to work in the cotton fields at the age of ten, initiating a long life of manual labor and a struggle to survive.

As a young man, he made drawings and small objects from scraps of paper and wood, and, later in life, he painted dots on common objects, including rocks, shoes, furniture and yard ornaments, earning him the name of "The Dot Man."

Benny Andrews

One of ten children, Benny Andrews was born on November 13, 1930, in Plainview, Georgia, a light skinned, blue-eyed, blond haired baby. His paternal grandmother, who was the midwife at his birth, was Jessie Rose Lee Wildcat Tennessee. His father, George Andrews, was a self-taught artist, the 'Dot Man,' who never lived more than ten miles from Plainview. His mother, Viola Perryman Andrews, was an advocate for education who encouraged her children to write and to draw every day.

After graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1958, he moved to New York, where he maintained a studio for the rest of his life. By 1962 he was exhibiting at Bella Fishkoís noted Forum Gallery. By the late 1960s, influenced by the Civil Rights movement, and troubled by the social, racial and gender inequities he discovered in the art world, he entered a period of social and cultural activism. He co-founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC) in 1969, and participated in marches outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, demonstrating against the exclusion of women and artists of color from those institutions. From 1982 through 1984, he served as Director of the Visual Arts Program for the National Endowment for the Arts. He died in 2006 in New York City.

Nene Humphrey

Nene Humphrey's work is concerned with the process and materials of art-making, and addresses issues of the body, domesticity and the female identified world. Born in rural Wisconsin in 1947, Nene grew up in an environment that placed great value on labor and women's hand-work. Raised Roman Catholic, she was greatly influenced by the church's symbolism and body imagery. This background enabled her to create a body of work both firmly rooted in the craft traditions passed from mother to daughter, and in a post-minimalist tradition of using process and material as metaphor in a simple, pure aesthetic.

Nene Humphrey received her B.A. from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana; her M.A. from Goddard College, Boston; and her M.F.A. from York University, Toronto. She has been active as a professor of art at Parsons School of Art and Design, Hunter College, Princeton University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

In 1986, she married artist Benny Andrews. She is a recipient of the Anonymous was a Woman Award, and has also received a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. Her works are included in national museum, corporate, and private collections. Currently, she maintains a studio in New York City.

Special Thanks

This exhibition is generously supported by The Helis Foundation



Click here to read more about Benny Andrews
Click here to read more about Nene Humphrey

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