Betye Saar (b. 1926, Los Angeles) is one of the most talented artists of her generation. She is not as well known as her talents deserve, however, no doubt largely because she is a black woman who came of age in the 1960s outside of New York City. Her work consistently addresses issues of race, gender, and spirituality. Very much a part of the strong assemblage tradition of Southern California, Saar's work combines many different symbols along with objects found on her travels across Africa, Mexico, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, as well as in L.A. itself.
Betye Saar: Call and Response | Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Betye Saar: Call and Response looks at the relationship between preliminary sketches in small sketchbooks, which Saar has made throughout her career, and finished works. In addition, the show includes approximately a dozen small travel sketchbooks with more finished drawings--relating to leitmotifs seen throughout Saar's oeuvre--that she has made over a lifetime of journeys worldwide.
The exhibition covers the span of Saar's career, including work from her early years up through a new sculptural installation. A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition, taking physical form in response to Saar's sketchbooks. This is the first exhibition at a California museum to address her entire career and the first anywhere to focus on her sketchbooks.
Betye Saar: Call and Response is curated by Carol S. Eliel, Senior Curator of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and will travel to The Morgan Library & Museum, New York (May 27 - September 13, 2020) and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (February 13 - May 9, 2021).
The exhibition catalogue, featuring a foreword by Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and essay by Carol S. Eliel, is published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and DelMonico Books/Prestel.
Image: Betye Saar I'll Bend But I Will Not Break, 1998, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Lynda and Stewart Resnick through the 2018 Collectors Committee, © Betye Saar, courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California