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Betye Saar photo

By Catherine G. Wagley

Acclaimed artist Betye Saar brings her “Heart of a Wanderer” exhibition to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum through May 21. The 96-year-old artist is credited with “redefining Black consciousness in art.”

The artist Betye Saar lives up three flights of stairs in a house with a pink door, tucked into a Laurel Canyon hillside. She has lived in the canyon, one of few truly woodsy enclaves in LA, since 1962. “I feel lucky that I live up here in nature,” Saar, 96, said one afternoon in late February. She sat at her dining table while her youngest daughter, Tracye Saar-Cavanaugh, a writer and the director of Saar’s studio, worked in the room next door.