Julie Mehretu at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), November 3, 2019 – March 22, 2020 (Level 1) and May 17, 2020 (Level 3)

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Julie Mehretu, a mid-career survey co-organized with the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition unites nearly 40 works on paper with 35 paintings dating from 1996 to the present by Julie Mehretu (b. 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); along with a print by Rembrandt and a film on Mehretu by the artist Tacita Dean. The first-ever comprehensive survey of Mehretu’s career, the exhibition covers over two decades of her artistic evolution, revealing her early focus on drawing, mapping, and iconography and her more recent introduction of bold gestures, sweeps of saturated color, and figurative elements. Mehretu’s examination of the histories of art, architecture, and past civilizations intermingle with her interrogations into themes of migration, revolution, climate change, global capitalism, and technology in the contemporary moment. Her play with scale, as evident in her intimate drawings and large canvases and complex techniques in printmaking, will be explored in depth.” — LACMA

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Julie Mehretu, Untitled, 2000, ink, colored pencil, and cut, paper on mylar, 18 × 24 in., private collection, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Cathy Carver

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Julie Mehretu, Retopistics: A Renegade Excavation, 2001, ink and acrylic on canvas, 101 1/2 × 208 1/2 in., Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; 2013.28, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Edward C. Robinson III

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Julie Mehretu, Untitled 2, 2001, ink and acrylic on canvas, 60 × 84 in., private collection, courtesy of Salon 94, New York, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging

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Julie Mehretu, Stadia II, 2004, ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 144 in., Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, gift of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund 2004.50, © Julie Mehretu, photograph courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

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Julie Mehretu, Black City, 2007, ink and acrylic on canvas, 120 × 192 in., Pinault Collection, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tim Thayer

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Julie Mehretu, Cairo, 2013, ink and acrylic on canvas, 118 1⁄4 × 287 in., The Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging

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Julie Mehretu, Invisible Sun (algorithm 4, first letter form), 2014, ink and acrylic on canvas 119 1⁄2 × 167 in., private collection, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Carolina Merlano

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Julie Mehretu, Epigraph, Damascus, 2016, photogravure, sugar lift, aquatint, spit bite aquatint, open bite, 8.1 × 18.8 feet, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Kelvin and Hana Davis through the 2018 Collectors Committee, © Julie Mehretu, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

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Julie Mehretu, Six Bardos: Transmigration, 2018, 31-color, 2-panel aquatint, 98 × 74 in., courtesy of Gemini G.E.L., LLC, © Julie Mehretu and Gemini G.E.L., LLC, photograph © White Cube, Ollie Hammick

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Julie Mehretu, Haka (and Riot), 2019, ink and acrylic on canvas, 144 × 180 in., courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging

“Mehretu’s unique form of abstraction is connected to a deep meditation at the crossroads of mapping social and political sites and actions, shifting points of entry, new visual languages, mediated images, and corporeality. Her compositions are at once all-encompassing and destabilizing, offering a radical incoherence, which can trigger multiple experiences and senses,” said Christine Y. Kim. “This exhibition lays out this development, articulation, and connectivity of her work over the past 23 years.” 

 Julie Mehretu is curated by Christine Y. Kim, curator of contemporary art at LACMA, with Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Following its presentation at LACMA, the exhibition will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (June 26–September 20, 2020); the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (October 24, 2020–January 31, 2021); and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (March 13–July 11, 2021).

Images courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art.