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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Betye Saar

Los Angeles,
USA

Betye Saar was born in Los Angeles in 1926. She graduated from the University of California, and continued graduate studies at California State University at Long Beach, the University of Southern California, and California State University at Northridge. Saar is known for her multimedia collages, box assemblages, altars and installations consisting of found materials. She states, “I am intrigued with combining the remnant of memories, fragments of relics and ordinary objects, with the components of technology. It’s a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously.” In her work, Saar voices her political, racial, religious and gender concerns in an effort to “reach across the barriers of art and life, to bridge cultural diversities and forge new understandings.” In 1998 with the series Workers + Warriors, Saar returned to the image of Aunt Jemima, a theme explored in her celebrated 1972 assemblage, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima. Saar has received numerous awards of distinction including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1974, 1984), a J. Paul Getty Fund for the Visual Arts Fellowship (1990), and a Flintridge Foundation Visual Artists Award (1998). In 1994 Saar, along with artist John Otterbridge, represented the United States at the 22nd Biennial of Sao Paulo in Brazil. In 2005, the University of Michigan Museum of Art organized the traveling exhibition Betye Saar: Extending the Frozen Moment which examined her incorporation of photographic fragments in her work. A role model for generations of African-American women, Saar has raised three daughters, two of whom (Alison and Lezley) are accomplished artists. Saar continues to work and live in Los Angeles. Roberts & Tilton is the exclusive representative of Betye Saar.

Feminist Artist Statement

“I am a mixed media collage, assemblage and installation artist. The concepts of passage, crossroads, death and rebirth have been underlying elements in much of my work. My art continues to move in a creative spiral. Much of my current work is about issues of race and gender; a return to my concerns of 1972 and The Liberation of Aunt Jemima. Mystery and beauty remain constant forces behind my creative energy. This is the energy that spins the spiral.”

—Betye Saar, 2007

<p>View from the Palmist Window</p>

View from the Palmist Window

A.P., Private Collection; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY.

View from the Palmist Window

A.P., Private Collection; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY.

The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972

Mixed media assemblage

11.75 x 2.75 x 8 in

Collection of University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, purchased with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (selected by the Committee for the Acquisition of Afro-American Art). 1972.84

Photographed for University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive by Benjamin Blackwell.

Courtesy of the artist and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California

Black Girl’s Window, 1969

Mixed media assemblage

35.75 x 18 x 1.5 in (90.8 x 45.7 x 3.8 cm)

Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York The Modern Women’s Fund and Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds Courtesy of the artist and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California

Gris-Gris Box, 1972

Mixed media assemblage

29 x 8.5 x 2.75 in (73.66 x 21.59 x 6.99 cm)

Collection of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Courtesy of the artist and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California

Sunnyland (On the Dark Side)

Collection of the Artist; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

A Loss of Innocence

Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

Colored

Collection of the University of Michigan; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

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