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Betye Saar



(I never had the stroke for ‘mainstream’
it went against my flow)

From the past
the essence
of accumulative
the remanents of
lost ceremonies
the loosening and
unwrapping of mystery
the emergence
from shadows
to face the

(These works are what I leave behind)

- Betye Saar, 1977

Betye Saar

Installation View with Mti, 1973
The assemblage, Mti, is receiving tokens, gifts, offerings, from October 10 thru November 5.
To be returned or exchanged from November 8 thru 12. You are invited to participate. - Betye Saar

Betye Saar: Recent Assemblages and Collages
Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, California (October 11 - Novermber 12, 1977)


about the unknown
has no boundaries.
Place and culture merge.
Time slips away.
The stars,
the cards,
the mystic vigil
may hold the answers.
We await the silent voices
of matter and spirit.

- Betye Saar, 1992


Betye Saar
Ancestral Spirit Chair, 1992
Painted wood branches, glass, bones, plastic, metal, and dried creeper vines
60 x 46 x 32 in (152. x 116.84 x 81.28 cm)
Collection Smith College Museum of Art Elm Street at Bedford Terrace Northampton Massachusetts
Purchased with funds realized from the sale of a work donated by Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Rittmaster
(Sulivan Goodkin class of 1937) in 1958 and with funds realized from the sale of a work donated by
Adeline Flint Wing class of 1898, and Caroline Roberta Wing, class of 1896, in 1961 SC 1992.42a-c.


My secret heart is seduced by twilight.
         It remembers the colors of dreams.
         It longs for solitude and the exotic.

My secret heart is a wanderer.
         It sails the sea of imagination.
         It soars beyond the clouds, seeking mysterious.
         It moves through time (dreamtime) and space (mindspace).

My secret heart seeks the dusty, musty forgotten corners.
         It constantly haunts, hunts, collects, gathers objects, images, feelings.
         It mixes, matches, embellishes, simplifies, camoflauges,
         fabricates to empower the ordinary, to invent artifacts.

My secret heart bridges memory and vision.
         It pays homage to lost rituals of unknown civilizations.
         It expands horizons only to condense them into a frame, a box, a room.

My secret heart is ageless.
         It beats within the rainbow babe in the woods.
         It dwells the house of whispers.

- Betye Saar, 1993

Betye Saar

Betye Saar at opening reception, pictured with The Mystic, 1993 (left) and Sheba, 1992 (right)
Betye Saar: The Secret Heart
Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, California (September 7, 1993 - January 9, 1994)


To fill the void,
         my art becomes an explorer—
         a tracer of forgotten tribes,
         a seeker of clues to feelings.

I sift through the remnants
         of the ashes of time.
The mystery of the unknown
         is my guide.

These works are what I leave

- Betye Saar, 1997


Press Release
Betye Saar: Ritual and Remembrance
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington (April 19 - June 29, 1997)