I’m disappointed that I will be missing this current exhibition at New York City’s magnificent Morgan Museum and Library. Betye Saar: Call and Response is based on Los Angeles–based artist Betye Saar who emerged in the 1960s as a major voice in American art. Part of a wave of artists, many of them African American, who embraced the medium of assemblage, she is known best for incisive collages and assemblage sculptures that confront and reclaim racist images. 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 approximately 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.