Betye Saar, installation view of “Cage: A New Series of Assemblages and Collages,” 2010.

Betye Saar

New York

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Betye Saar spent four years preparing for this exhibition—not a small effort, considering that she is 84 years old. The result was an impressive installation, and it demonstrated that Saar continues to be a creative and critical voice to be reckoned with. In addition to several collages, the show featured 20 of Saar’s signature mixed-media assemblages, all involving birdcages. Collected at yard sales, flea markets, and antique shops, these finds were presented on pedestals and suspended from the ceiling. Each one contained different objects, ranging from model ships, woven braids, and artificial birds to racially degrading Aunt Jemima figurines. Within this dramatic display, formerly lifeless objects were transformed into confined protagonists, alluding to social, racial, gender-based, psychological, spiritual, economic, and historical exclusion. Saar has worked with notions of repression and resistance for over four decades. As a woman born in the 1930s of African, Native American, and Irish descent, she has experienced firsthand the difficulties of exclusion. …see the entire review in the print version of October’s Sculpture magazine.