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Alison Saar

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In Studio: 
Feb 3 2011 - Mar 5 2011
On Exhibit: 
Jan 13 2011 - Mar 16 2011
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Alison Saar

Los Angeleno Alison Saar is an internationally acclaimed sculptor whose narrative, often life-sized works are poignant explorations of her personal and cultural identity. Sensual and buoyant with story, her carved figures and installations also address humanity in the broadest sense by delving into universal themes of family, fertility, life cycles, politics, human vulnerability and hope.

Calling on a wide variety of sources—African and Haitian folklore, contemporary African-American culture, Catholicism, mythology, voodoo, and the practices of “outsider” artists—Saar constructs a visual language that is simultaneously historical and philosophical, accessible and explorative. The wood, tin, copper, wire, and other objects that she utilizes in her sculpture are often reclaimed or recycled material, revealing Saar’s fondness for her supplies having, as she states, “former lives” and carrying “the histories of what they’ve witnessed.” The humor and wordplay that she injects into the titles of her work speak to Saar’s willingness to engage viewers’ personal interpretations and imbue levity into otherwise serious subject matter.

The daughter of art world cognoscenti (mixed-media artist Betye Saar and art conservator Richard Saar), Alison received her BA from Scripps College in Claremont, CA and an MFA from Otis Art Institute in L.A. She has been the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, two artist fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A) Artist Fellowship. Saar’s work has been exhibited at prestigious venues across the country, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, and the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum in New York.

Solo Exhibitions thru 1990
Bound for Glory, Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR
Alison Saar, Rochester Art Center, Rochester, NY
Hither, LA Louver, Venice, CA
Alison Saar: Whither, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
Alison Saar: Coup, LA Louver, Venice, CA
Alison Saar, Pasadena City College, CA
Lost/Found, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
Alison Saar: Tete a Tete, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO
Alison Saar: Artist in Residence, Jaffe-Friede & Strauss Galleries, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Topsy Turvy, Sculpture by Alison Saar, ASU Art Museum, Tempe, AZ
Bittersweet, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Alison Saar, Muse Boribana, DakArt Biennial, Dakar, Senegal
(Post)Teriors, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
Diggin, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Body Politics: The Female Image in Luba Art and the Sculpture of Alison Saar, The UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, CA
Alison Saar: Terra Incognita, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
Alison Saar: Recent Work, Herron Gallery, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
Alison Saar: New Works, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA
Sculpture by Alison Saar, The Trustees of The Saint-Gaudens Memorial, Cornish, NH
Half in Shadow and Half in Light, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Alison Saar, List Gallery, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
Alison Saar: Hairesies, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
Alison Saar, Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Alison Saar, Laumier Sculpture Park and Museum, St. Louis, MO
Alison Saar: The Woods Within, The Brooklyn Museum, The Grand Lobby, Brooklyn, NY
Alison Saar: Strange Fruit, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
Fertile Ground: Art at The Edge, High Museum, Atlanta, GA, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond,VA; traveled to Diggs Gallery, Winston-Salem State University,Winston-Salem, NC
Catfish Dreamin', The Contemporary, Baltimore, MD; traveled to The Hudson River Museum of Westchester, Yonkers, NY; Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE; Academy of the Arts, Easton, MD; Howard County Arts Center, Ellicott City, MD; Carroll County Arts Council, Westminster, MD
Directions, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.
Myth, Magic, and Ritual: Figurative Work by Alison Saar, Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, PA
Alison Saar: Sculptural Portraits, Wall Works and Artist's Books, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA

Group Exhibitions thru 1990

Kink: The Seduction of Art, Koplin del Rios Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
Provocative Visions: Race and Identity – Selections from the Permanent Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley and Alison Saar, Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; traveled to Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Otis: Nine Decades of Los Angeles Art Exhibition Highlights Lasting Impact of LA Artists & Movements, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles, CA
9 Contemporary Sculptors: Fellows of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial, UBS Art Gallery, New York, NY
Along the Way: MTA Arts for Transit, UBS Art Gallery, New York, NY
COLA, 2005 Artist Fellowships, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles, CA
California Now, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Strength and Diversity: A Celebration of African-American Artists, Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Picturing the Amazon, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY
Departures: 11 Artists at the Getty, The Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA
Looking Forward, Looking Black, Aidekman Arts Center, Tufts University, Boston, MA; traveled to Museum of Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI; Houghton House Gallery at Hobart and William Smith College, Geneva, NY; Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ; The Yager Museum, Oneonta, NY; Georgia State University School of Art and Design Gallery, Atlanta, GA
The Tip of the Iceberg: A Response to New York Museums, including Emma Amos, Clarina Bezzola, Janet Fish, Lauren Letitia, Martha Rosler, Alison Saar, and Carolee Schneemann, Dorfman Projects, New York, NY
Sculpture-Figure-Woman, Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Lins, Austria
American Stories, Akita Perfectural Integrated Life Cultural Hall, Akita, Japan; traveled to Setagaya Art Museum, Setagaya, Japan; Chiba City Museum of Art, Chiba, Japan; Fukui Fine Arts Museum, Fukui, Japan; Kurashiki City Art Museum, Kurashiki, Japan
Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Women Artists, Spellman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN; Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL; The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA; African-American Museum, Dallas, TX; Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; African-American History and Culture Museum, Fresno, CA
Twentieth Century American Sculpture at The White House, The White House, Washington, D.C.
Black Male: Representation of Masculinity in Contemporary Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; traveled to Armand Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
The Landscape as Metaphor, Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO; traveled to Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH
Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Secrets, Dialogues, Revelations: The Art of Betye and Alison Saar, Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Celebrations: Sights and Sounds of Being, Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in 1980s, New Museum, New York, NY; traveled to Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York, NY
Sculptural Revolution, Socrates Park, Long Island City, NY
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
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