The MacDowell Colony will award assemblage and installation artist Betye Saar with its 55th Edward MacDowell Medal on Sunday, August 10. The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s first artist residency program, has awarded the medal annually since 1960 to an individual artist who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.
Saar, who started as a printmaker, is perhaps best known for her intimate assemblages and collages, which not only challenge the myths and negative stereotypes ascribed to the African-American community but also demonstrate a connection with a myriad of mythic and spiritual concepts from Africa and the Caribbean. The artist, who eventually moved into working with found objects in larger-scale installations, joins an impressive list of past Medal recipients, including Robert Frost (1962), Georgia O’Keeffe (1972), Leonard Bernstein (1987), Jasper Johns (1994), I.M. Pei (1998), Ellsworth Kelly (1999), and Stephen Sondheim (2013).