What an interesting and challenging week it has been. No, no… I’m not talking about politics. I am talking about art that I have seen or read about in the last few days. When I learned about the upcoming major solo exhibition by well-known LA artist, Alison Saar (b. 1956), presented by two Southern California cultural institutions, I made a mark in my calendar for the opening of the exhibition on September 1st. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the opening never happened. Both institutions, along with other California museums, continue to be closed… hmm… until safer and better times.
So, I tried to be patient. But then, I read the glowing review for Saar's exhibition in The New York Times and realized that maybe I should also try my luck and hopefully get permission to have a tour. And, I got lucky! Rebecca McGrew, Senior Curator of Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College, invited me to see the exhibition and gave me wonderful insights into Alison Saar’s work.
We started at the courtyard, looking at the impressive 12-foot-tall bronze sculpture, Imbue, commissioned by the Benton Museum for the entrance to its new building. Inside, two major gallery spaces were filled with carefully selected sculptures, paintings, and prints made by Saar. All of them have one major subject in common- an imposing image of an African American woman- mostly naked, and looking at you with so much authority, that it makes you stare back with full attention and respect.
The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, which has been chosen to host the second part of Saar’s exhibition, has delayed its opening until next year.