Oil on canvas with fabric collage
24 x 18in (61 x 45.7cm)
Museum purchase with the Helen and Everett H. Jones Purchase Fund
Benny Andrews' The Cop is a portrait of a police officer the artist knew in his own community. The subject's ambiguous race engages the viewer to question his identity (the officer was, in fact, a white man). Painted in 1968, a tumultuous year in American history that saw the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the continuation of the Vietnam War, The Cop's textural rawness mirrors the tensions between the African American community and law enforcement during this turbulent time, making it especially poignant in today's climate of sociopoliitical unrest.
© Estate of Benny Andrews/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Benny Andrews (b.1930, d.2006)