True Believers: Benny Andrews and Deborah Roberts
'True Believers: Benny Andrews & Deborah Roberts' provides a historic and contemporary view of the Black experience in America through the work of two artists from different generations. This exhibition explores the deep connections between the work of two artists in relation to formal similarities, specifically their use of collage, as well as their shared interest in themes of activism, racial injustice, family, and religion.
Benny Andrews was an artist, educator and activist. In the late 1960s and 1970s he co-founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), which agitated for greater representation of African American artists and curators in New York’s major art museums. He also led the BECC in founding a groundbreaking arts education program in prisons and detention centers. As a student in Chicago, Andrews developed a practice of incorporating collaged fabric and other material into his figurative oil paintings, a technique he would continue throughout his career. In addition to working in oil and mixed-media collage, he made sculptures, prints and drawings. He continued his prolific output of artwork, which ranged from explorations of history and social justice to intimate depictions of friends and family, until his death in 2006.
'True Believers: Benny Andrews & Deborah Roberts' is organised for the McNay Art Museum by René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs; and Lauren Thompson, Assistant Curator.