Under Night Sky, Saar Shines Bright

(left to right) Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Artist Betye Saar, and LACMA Director Michael Govan at LACMA. Photo by Earl Gibson III / Board of Supervisors

On a cool evening night, set against the late fall sky, Los Angeles County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, hosted a viewing and reception for renowned artist, Betye Saar, to celebrate her exhibit entitled “Call and Response.” In a short program featuring the Director of LACMA, Michael Govan, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Betye Saar and exhibit curator, Carol Eliel, more than 200 guests were treated to a delightful panoply of Southern California art history, where Ms. Saar has stood at the vanguard.

In brief remarks that highlighted the import of Ms. Saar’s first solo show at LACMA, and her turn in the national spotlight, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said, “As one of the country’s most inventive and influential makers of intimately scaled assemblage, it’s been a long journey in getting to today.” Noting further, “But like the three-dimensional qualities that embody so much of Ms. Saar’s work, her art practice can’t be easily defined. And we are all grateful this day has finally come.”

Ms. Saar, who is 93, has been one of the country’s most inventive and influential makers of intimately scaled assemblage. For more than a half a century her art practice has explored both the realities of African-American oppression and the mysticism of symbols through the combination of everyday objects. For her first solo exhibition at LACMA, works that represent this and so much more are on display.

In an affirmation of this sentiment, Michael Govan, Director of LACMA, said, “she is one of the most significant artists working today, and one who boldly addresses issues of race, gender and spirituality.”

Ms. Saar, known to shy away from the spotlight and let the depth of her work speak for itself, shared a few words of inspiration with those in attendance, ending with simply saying, “thank you all for letting me share how I see things with my art. It’s just my little my view of this great, big world.”

“Call and Response” is now on view until April 5, 2020 at the LACMA Resnick Pavilion.

Betye Saar and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (center) flanked by Department Directors for the County Of Los Angeles at LACMA. Photo by Earl Gibson III / Board of Supervisors