Betye Saar: Call and Response at The Morgan Library & Museum, September 12, 2020 – January 31, 2021
“The Morgan Library & Museum proudly announces a solo exhibition of work by the Los Angeles–based artist Betye Saar (b. 1926). Best known for incisive collages and assemblages that confront and reclaim racist images, Saar emerged in the 1960s as part of a wave of artists, many of them African American, who embraced the medium of assemblage. She went on to become one of the most significant artists working in this medium today. Betye Saar: Call and Response is the first exhibition to focus on Saar’s sketchbooks and examine the relationship between her found objects, sketches, and finished works.
As an early champion of Saar’s work, the Morgan acquired a series of six collages that will be displayed in full for the first time as part of this exhibition. A Secretary to the Spirits (1975) is the outcome of an invitation by author and activist Ishmael Reed (b. 1938) to create a series of collages for his poetry book of the same name. In another form of ‘call and response,’ each of Saar’s collages is based on and named for one of Reed’s poems. Saar employed a layered approach to echo Reed’s poetry, which combines references to the ancient and the contemporary, the spiritual and the mundane.” — The Morgan Library & Museum
Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the exhibition at the Morgan is coordinated by Dr. Rachel Federman, the Morgan’s Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings.