Los Angeles–based artist Betye Saar (b. 1926) emerged in the 1960s as a major voice in American art. Part of a generation of artists, many of them African American, who embraced the medium of assemblage, she is known best for incisive collages and sculptures that confront and reclaim racist depictions. The daughter of a seamstress, and a printmaker by training, Saar brings to her work a remarkable sensitivity to materials. Her imagery is drawn from popular culture, family history, and a wide range of spiritual traditions.
This exhibition, conceived in close consultation with the artist, looks at the relationship between Saar’s finished works and the preliminary annotated sketches she has made in small notebooks throughout her career. In addition, the show will include close to a dozen of Saar’s travel sketchbooks with more finished drawings and collages—often relating to leitmotifs seen across her oeuvre—which she has made over a lifetime of journeys worldwide. Selections will cover the span of her career, from the late 1960s up through a sculptural installation made specifically for this exhibition.
Betye Saar: Call and Response is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition is curated by Carol S. Eliel, Senior Curator of Modern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The presentation of Betye Saar: Call and Response in Jackson, Mississippi is curated by Ryan N. Dennis, Chief Curator and Artistic Director at Mississippi Museum of Art and supported by Art Bridges. The exhibition will travel to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas from September 25, 2021 to January 2, 2022.
The award-winning exhibition catalogue, featuring an essay by Carol S. Eliel, is published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and DelMonico Books • Prestel.