Medium
Image rights
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Wynn and Sally Kramarsky, New York. Photo: Marc Bernier

Inspired by Joseph Cornell’s assemblages and Simon Rodia’s Los Angeles monuments, the Watts Towers (made from found scrap materials), Betye Saar’s work mixes surreal, symbolic imagery with a folk art aesthetic. As a participant in the robust African-American Los Angeles art scene of the 1970s, Saar appropriated characters such as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, and other stereotypes from folk culture and advertising in her works—usually collages and assemblages. African tribal mysticism, history, memory, and nostalgia are also important for Saar. She was invited to participate in “Pacific Standard Time,” a 2011 survey of influential LA artists, for which she created Red Time, an installation of her assemblages from both past and present that explored the relationship between personal and collective history. “I'm the kind of person who recycles materials but I also recycle emotions and feelings,” she explains.

Established
Represented by industry leading galleries.
Collected by major museums
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Selected exhibitions
2019
Betye Saar: Spirit CatcherRoberts Projects
2018
Betye Saar: Keepin’ It CleanNew York Historical Society
2016
BETYE SAAR: Uneasy DancerFondazione Prada
View all

Window of Ancient Sirens, 1979

Assemblage
14 3/4 × 24 3/4 in
37.5 × 62.9 cm
Location
New York
Medium
Image rights
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Wynn and Sally Kramarsky, New York. Photo: Marc Bernier

Inspired by Joseph Cornell’s assemblages and Simon Rodia’s Los Angeles monuments, the Watts Towers (made from found scrap materials), Betye Saar’s work mixes surreal, symbolic imagery with a folk art aesthetic. As a participant in the robust African-American Los Angeles art scene of the 1970s, Saar appropriated characters such as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, and other stereotypes from folk culture and advertising in her works—usually collages and assemblages. African tribal mysticism, history, memory, and nostalgia are also important for Saar. She was invited to participate in “Pacific Standard Time,” a 2011 survey of influential LA artists, for which she created Red Time, an installation of her assemblages from both past and present that explored the relationship between personal and collective history. “I'm the kind of person who recycles materials but I also recycle emotions and feelings,” she explains.

Established
Represented by industry leading galleries.
Collected by major museums
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Selected exhibitions (3)
Other works from A Constellation
Other works by Betye Saar
Related artists