With a career spanning 60 years, artist Betye Saar (b. 1926, Los Angeles, CA) has made an indelible impact on our nation’s artistic and broader cultural landscape through her prints, collages, assemblages, and installations. A lifelong resident of Southern California, Saar grew up in Los Angeles and Pasadena, where she began her career studying design at Pasadena City College and then at UCLA.
After working in design, she took postgraduate printmaking classes and shifted her practice to fine arts. Saar’s early work, primarily prints and other works on paper, began her signature exploration of African American identity, spirituality and mysticism, and American social and political context.
In the late 1960s, Saar began to experiment with found objects, including photographs, collectibles, family heirlooms, and utilitarian objects, to create assemblages that powerfully address racist histories and propel us into a future of reclamation and change. Saar continues to make new work, building on her celebrated practice while also engaging with evolving personal and societal influences.
Saar’s work has been exhibited and collected by countless museums and arts institutions including, the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, NY), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA), the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), the Berkeley Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.).