Julie Mehretu03/11/2019 - 17/05/2020
The first-ever comprehensive retrospective of Mehretu’s career
Co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art(LACMA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Julie Mehretu is a mid-career survey that will unite approximately 36 paintings with 41 works on paper dating from 1996 to the present by Julie Mehretu. The first-ever comprehensive retrospective of Mehretu’s career, the exhibition covers over two decades of her examination of history, colonialism, capitalism,
geopolitics, war, global uprising, diaspora, and displacement through the artistic strategies of abstraction, architecture, landscape, movement, and, most recently, figuration.
Born in Ethiopia in 1970, Julie Mehretu was raised in East Lansing, Michigan. Since 1999, she has lived and worked in New York, establishing herself as one of the most exciting painters working in the United States.
Known for her large-scale abstract canvases, Mehretu’s painting techniques range from precisely drawn lines and layering of different elements and media to brushed, scratched, and rubbed marks and balletic gestures of varying weight and viscosity. While her earlier work featured architectural and graphic elements, geographical schema, and plans for public spaces, her more recent work tends toward bold, gestural canvases with figurative elements layered into pixelated, printed, sprayed, and drawn marks and images. These abstractions reflect that which is both deeply embedded and constantly fluctuating in human consciousness. A recipient of the U.S. State Department’s National Medal of Arts (2015) and a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” (2005) among other awards and honors, Mehretu’s art continues to awe viewers by delineating and expressing the complexities of our civilization in all of its chaos and beauty.
Mehretu’s play with scale, as evident in her intimate drawings and large canvases and complex techniques in printmaking, will be explored in depth. Julie Mehretu is curated by Christine Y. Kim, curator of contemporary art at LACMA with Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum.