Call and Response
This publication presents Betye Saar’s sketchbooks—which she has kept during her entire career—for the first time and offers insights into the artist’s creative process.
A child of the Great Depression and one of the only African American students in her UCLA art program, Betye Saar has, over the course of more than six decades, made work that exposes stereotypes and injustices based on race and gender. From early prints and watercolors to Joseph Cornell–inspired assemblages and full-scale sculptural tableaux, her work has inspired generations of artists. This ingeniously designed publication plays off the format of Saar’s original sketchbooks. Made throughout her extraordinary career, Saar’s sketches are an integral part of her creative process and offer a greater understanding of the themes woven into her finished works, which are also featured in the book. Saar's sources and influences range from Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers and Haitian Vodou fetishes to Australian Aboriginal paintings, Native American leatherwork, and African American history, literature, and music. An original, intimate, and valuable resource for Saar’s many fans, this book will also educate future generations about Saar’s significant contributions to American art.
Carol S. Eliel
CAROL S. ELIEL is Curator of Modern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has organized numerous exhibitions and written on subjects ranging from 18th-century French painting to cutting-edge contemporary art.