Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl's Window

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Betye Saar. "Keep for Old Memiors". 1976

Pencil on paper, printed papers, and printed fabric sewn and pasted on fabric with lace, leaves, and feathers, mounted on painted frame with gloves, 15 1/2 x 13" (39.4 x 33 cm). Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder. © Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles

Artist, Betye Saar: After doing so many images of a derogatory nature, I felt that it was important to move on from that and use ancestral pictures of my ancestral history. The last assemblage in this room is called Keep for Old Memoirs. It's a copy of a photograph from my great aunt’s collection of images. Also her gloves. And an old frame and a text, and a small note called “Keep for Old Memoirs.” That was a note that I found among her things too. And Memoirs is misspelled, but I liked it anyway.

I'm a child of the Depression. So I grew up not throwing away anything. And so I have this collection of half-finished prints, but I don't throw them away because there's always a part of it I can recycle into something else. My studio is jam-packed full of everything that I think I might use - a friend once said, she’s a psychic - all these things in your room, they're asking what are we doing here? What are we doing here? And I say don't worry, one day you're going to be art. (laughs) That's why I have such a conglomeration of objects. Of boats and ships and clocks and pieces of paper and frames and everything. Because I can't bear to throw it away. But one day, they'll be art. And some of it is here in this gallery.

Tracye Saar-Cavanaugh: Well, thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoyed the exhibition and learned some interesting things about Betye Saar.