On the Road with Benny Andrews by Stanley Staniski
In the spring of 2004, Benny Andrews initiated a project in conjunction with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art to explore the migrant experience in America through a series of annual journeys culminating in three exhibitions in New Orleans and New York. These journeys would focus on three aspects of the American migrant experience: the 1930s Dust Bowl migration along Route 66, the forced march of native peoples along the Cherokee Trail of Tears, and the 20th century African-American exodus from the South to New York, Chicago and Detroit. Noted photographer and filmmaker, Stanley Staniski, was invited to document Benny's research for The Migrant Series, traveling the backroads and by-ways of America with this iconic Southern artist.
Benny Andrews and Stanley Staniski at the Grand Canyon
Photo by Ned Traver
Staniski had worked with the Ogden before, creating films about artists including William Christenberry, Will Henry Stevens and William Dunlap. During this time, he initiated his own series of photographs resulting from his journeys with Benny. Of the project, Staniski says:
Benny Andrews and Rick Gruber
Photo by Stanley Staniski
Staniski continued to be inspired by his journeys with Benny, expanding his photographic series in the spirit of those travels. When writing about his series, Staniski says:
Other photographic trips grew out of those with Benny, and while I made photographs along roads (Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia) other than the specific migrant routes of Benny’s interest, for me they are all of the same series, perhaps they are part of his legacy.
July 4th, Avalon Theatre, McLean, Texas. Photo by Stanley Sataniski
On October 3, 2009, the Ogden Museum opened the exhibition Stanley Staniski: On the Road with Benny Andrews. The exhibition includes thirty-two images, chosen by Chief Curator David Houston from a larger body of work resulting from and inspired by Staniski's travels with Benny Andrews.
Stanley Staniski. Photo by Cheryl Gerber
Lea Barton, Rick Gruber, William Christenberry, Stanley Staniski and Ken Barton. Photo by Cheryl Gerber
Stanley Staniski, Richard Sexton and Richard McCabe. Photo by Cheryl Gerber.