Julie Mehretu

Biography of Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu is best known for her large-scale works that transform the abstract dynamism and topography of urban landscapes into densely layered abstract paintings and prints. Using a myriad of art historical references and overlaying architectural elements, she creates compositions that collapse and compress space and place. Through her work Julie Mehretu creates narratives that trace cities, histories, geographies and wars, but always through an abstracted lens.


Born 1970 in Addis, Ethiopia, Julie Mehretu was raised in Michigan and attended the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1997. She then moved to New York City where she continues to live and work, sharing a studio with her partner and fellow artist Jessica Rankin. In her work Julie Mehretu employs variety of different media including acrylic paint, ink, pen and pencil. Her canvases overlay columns, façades and porticoes with different geographical schema such as charts, building plans, city maps and aerial, cross-section views.


Solo exhibitions of Julie Mehretu’s work have been held at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Kunstverein Hannover, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark. Her work was also included in Documenta 13 (2012), the 26th Bienal de São Paulo (2004) and the Whitney Biennial in New York (2004). In 2005 Julie Mehretu was the recipient of the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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