Julie Mehretu

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Biography

Julie Mehretu’s works engage us in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space.

Julie Mehretu, (b. 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) lives and works in New York City. She received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, studied at the University Cheik Anta Diop, Dakar Senegal, and received a Master’s of Fine Art with honors from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1997.

In exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern day phenomenology of the social, Julie Mehretu's works engage us in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space.

Mehretu’ s work is informed by a multitude of sources including politics, literature and music. Most recently her paintings have incorporated photographic images from broadcast media which depict conflict, injustice, and social unrest. These graphic images act as intellectual and compositional points of departure; ultimately occluded on the canvas, they remain as a phantom presence in the highly abstracted gestural completed works. Mehretu’ s practice in painting, drawing and printmaking equally assert the role of art to provoke thought and reflection, and express the contemporary condition of the individual and society.

She has received many prestigious awards including the MacArthur Fellowship in 2005, and the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts Award in 2015. Her work has been exhibited extensively in museums and biennials including the Carnegie International (2004–05), Sydney Biennial (2006), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), Sharjah Biennial (2015), Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2017), Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge, UK (2019); and the 58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, (2019).

In November 2019 a career survey opened of Mehretu’s work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and will travel to The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The High Museum, Atlanta, and The Walker Museum of Art, Minneapolis.

Julie Mehretu’s works engage us in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space.

Julie Mehretu sits beside some of her artworks

In Focus

Marian Goodman Gallery's latest newsletter delves deeply into one artist on the MGG roster at a time. Join us as we explore the many facets that make up Julie Mehretu’s oeuvre, through videos, interviews, an opera excerpt, and a book list chosen by the artist.

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