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Past Exhibitions: 2005

Betye Saar: Extending the Frozen Moment

October 15, 2005–January 8, 2006

Betye Saar is widely viewed as one of the most distinguished figures in American art today. Born in 1926 in Los Angeles, she emerged in the 1960s as a seminal figure in the redefinition of African-American identity in art. Throughout her career, Saar has made art that challenges us to think about our societal responses to race and to the history of race in the United States. Though politically trenchant, Saar's work moves beyond protest to encompass a profound spirituality and an awareness of the things that link human beings across cultural lines and across time. Best known for her richly evocative assemblages of found objects, Saar has been included in numerous exhibitions and is represented in many major museum collections. This exhibition, organized by UMMA, will examine Saar's achievement by focusing on her work with photography, specifically, her incorporation of photographic fragments as a metaphor for her view of the African American experience and of lives too often obscured in American visual history. Including more than sixty works drawn from public and private collections and the artist's own collection, this exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial book, copublished with the University of California Press, featuring new scholarship and critical writing on Betye Saar. After its premiere in Ann Arbor, the exhibition will embark on a national tour.

This exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Henry Luce Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Peter Norton Family Foundation. Additional support has come from the University of Michigan's Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research, and Institute for Research on Women and Gender, as well as from Pfizer Global Research and Development, Michigan Radio, Michigan Television, the Monroe-Brown Foundation, and the Friends of the Museum of Art.

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Sambo's Banjo, Betye Saar

Betye Saar
Sambo's Banjo
1971-72
Mixed-media assemblage
41 x 14 1/2 x 18 in. (banjo case); 6 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 2 3/4 in. (watermelon slice)
Collection California African American Foundation, Photograph by Darryl A. Smith; courtesy California African American Museum

Lullaby, Betye Saar

Betye Saar
Lullaby
1999
Mixed-media assemblage
16 1/2 x 9 3/4 x 3/4 in.
Mary Anne Mott and Herman Warsh, Santa Barbara, CA
Photograph by Joshua Nefsky; courtesy of the artist and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

Midnight Madonnas, Betye Saar

Betye Saar
Midnight Madonnas
1996
Mixed-media assemblage
14 x 11 x 1 1/2 in.
Photograph by Joshua Nefsky; courtesy of the artist and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

Black Crows in the White Section Only, Betye Saar

Betye Saar
Black Crows in the White Section Only
1972
Mixed-media assemblage
22 x 18 x 1 3/4 in.
Collection of halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York, NY Photograph by Joshua Nefsky; courtesy of the artist and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

Colored, Betye Saar

Betye Saar
Colored
2002
Mixed-media assemblage with hand mirror
14 1/2 x 30 x 1 1/2 in.
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum purchase made possible by Dr. James and Vivian Curtis and the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund
Photograph by Joshua Nefsky; courtesy of the artist and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY