Betye Saar (American, born 1926)
mixed media collage
15 3/8 in. x 11 1/2 in. (39.05 cm x 29.21 cm)
Museum Purchase, with funds donated in memory of Shelendra V. Wilson, with assistance from the Barbara Cooney Porter Fund, 2002.2. © Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California
Betye Saar is best known for her assemblages, often bringing together found objects that resonate with history, memory, and identity. These techniques have also been applied to her collage making, such as the silk-screened collages that correspond with short stories by author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. The short stories that Betye Saar selected to illustrate often incorporate women’s experiences and their relationships to men. In the collage Now You Cookin’ With Gas, (right) Saar illustrates the last story in the book and depicts the encounter on the streets of Harlem. Two slick-talking, zoot-suited men are attempting to attract the attention of a young woman. Saar’s choice to position the woman just outside the frame of the collage asserts the woman’s self-possession and independence as she boldly rejects the men’s advances.