Creative assemblage with Betye Saar

 Academic Exercise
Wood assemblage

Look closely at Betye Saar's Cryptic Confessions, The Question, an artwork from the Museum's Collection. Then, follow along with the prompts below to explore, learn more, and create an assemblage of your own! 


  • What objects do you see? 
  • How many colors can you find? 
  • List the shapes you can identify. 
  • List all of the different textures you see. 


  • This artwork is called an “assemblage,” which means an assortment of objects brought together to create a new object. 
  • The artist who made this, Betye Saar, is from California. She often makes artworks out of objects that she collects and arranges in boxes. 
  • This artwork includes a computer circuit board, wood, Egyptian figures, and glitter paint along with the other small objects you can see. 


  • Why do you think the artist chose these objects? 
  • What mood or feeling do you get from the artwork? 
  • If you could make up a new title for the artwork, what would you call it? Why? 
  • How would you describe this artwork to someone who could not see it? 


  • Create your own assemblage by gathering objects and arranging them to create a new object. Choose objects that are meaningful to you! 
  • Use a piece of sturdy paper or cardboard as your base. Use glue or tape to hold the objects in place. 
  • Think about what mood you want your artwork to convey and what message you want it to send. How can you arrange your objects in a way that helps create that mood and message? 
  • Decide on a title for your artwork and share it with a friend, classmate, or family member.

Image Credits

Betye Saar
b. 1926 Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Cryptic Confessions, The Question, 1988
Wood, computer circuit board, glitter paint, and small found objects
15 3/4 x 10 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches
Accession date: 2000
Gift of Mimi Livingston
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. © Betye Saar