Fig. 9. Betye Saar, Shield of Quality, 1974, mixed media assemblage including wooden box, metal hinges, antique photography, silver spoon, leather glove, feathers, antique jewelry, beads, shells, paper, fabric, lace, and appliqu fragments, 9 x 14 /4 x 2 in. Betye Saar ~, Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, NewYork, N.Y. inspired by memory and nostalgia.They engage multiple matrices by positioning themselves amid the complex social formulas of daily life.While black nationalists were interested in depicting cultural and political heroes, Saar no longer wanted to create protest imagery after her Liberation series; she wanted to uncover the obscured, sepia-toned heroism of everyday lives. So she gathered in her boxes fragments of black experiences, objects rich with the transforming and liberating power of remembrance. As a backdrop to Saar's artistic production in the midsixties and early seventies, Los Angeles's black art community was growing and organizing exhibitions in black-owned exhibition spaces throughout the city. Venues such as Dale and Alonzo Davis's Brockman Gallery, which opened in 1967, and Samella Lewis's Contemporary Crafts Gallery developed into thriving hubs of activity for African American artists in Southern California.9 Despite the growth of such galleries, there were few opportunities for black assemblage artists like Saar to show their work on a regular basis. When Suzanne Jackson opened her Lafayette Park Place gallery, Gallery 32, in 1968, it was a golden opportunity for black assemblage artists to gather and support one another. As Jackson recalls, "the gallery was really about work by artists who would not be shown at other places" (Jackson and Mason 1998, 123). Betye Saar, David Hammons, Noah Purifoy, and other artists such as Yvonne Cole Meo, Dan Conchlar, Gloria Bohannon, Timothy Washington, John Stinson, and Sue Irons 88
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