Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window at Museum of Modern Art, October 21, 2019 – January 4, 2020

The Museum of Modern Art presents Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window, an in-depth solo exhibition exploring the deep ties between the artist’s iconic autobiographical assemblage Black Girl’s Window (1969) and her rare, early prints, made during the 1960s. Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window is drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s collection, and highlights the recent acquisition of 42 works on paper that provide an overview of Saar’s sophisticated, experimental print practice. The exhibition engages with the themes of family, history, and mysticism, which have been at the core of Saar’s work from its earliest days, and traces a link from her printmaking to the assemblages for which she is best known today.

A major figure in postwar art, Betye Saar (b. 1926) has lived and worked in Los Angeles her entire life, and is part of a generation of artists who pursued assemblage there during the 1960s and ’70s, which also included Edward Kienholz, John Outterbridge, and Noah Purifoy. Although best known for sculptures made from found materials, particularly those that challenge derogatory stereotypes of African Americans, Saar’s earliest independent works are prints. Working in a range of techniques, including intaglio and lithography, she created works on paper that reveal a comfort with experimentation and an early interest in incorporating physical traces of the world within her art. The Museum now has the largest public collection of Saar’s printed work, which remains largely unknown even to those familiar with her oeuvre.”— MoMA

All Digital Images © 2018 The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Photos by Rob Gerhardt.

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Betye Saar. To Catch a Unicorn. 1960. Etching and aquatint with watercolor additions plate: 14 3/4 × 8″ (37.5 × 20.3 cm); sheet: 16 3/4 × 9 7/16″ (42.6 × 24 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Candace King Weir Endowment for Women Artists. © 2019 Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.

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Betye Saar. Anticipation. 1961. Screenprint, image: 18 1/8 × 14 7/16″ (46.1 × 36.7 cm); sheet: 21 11/16 × 16 15/16″ (55.1 × 43.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Candace King Weir Endowment for Women Artists. © 2019 Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.

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Betye Saar. Lo, The Mystique City. 1965. Etching with embossing, image: 18 1/2 × 19 13/16″ (47 × 50.4 cm); sheet: 19 13/16 × 22 15/16″ (50.3 × 58.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Candace King Weir Endowment for Women Artists. © 2019 Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.

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Betye Saar. Black Girl’s Window. 1969. Wooden window frame with paint, cut-and-pasted printed and painted papers, daguerreotype, lenticular print, and plastic figurine, 35 3/4 × 18 × 1 1/2″ (90.8 × 45.7 × 3.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Candace King Weir through The Modern Women’s Fund, and Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds. © 2019 Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.

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Michele Mattei. Betye Saar. 2012. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. © Michele Mattei. © 2019 Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles

Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window is organized by Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator, and Esther Adler, Associate Curator, with Ana Torok, Curatorial Assistant, and Nectar Knuckles, Curatorial Fellow, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art.

Images courtesy Museum of Modern Art.