Art History Course
Julie Mehretu: Agora Painter  

Select Fridays
3 pm

Online, via Zoom

“What can happen in the public space? What is allowed? But, also, what will not be tolerated? What is banned or forbidden? What is possible in the spaces of interiority surrounding the square; the vistas from windows looking outward? How can one behave subversively, inside the square and out?” – Julie Mehretu (2019)

Julie Mehretu has a long-standing interest in the concept of the agora, or public square, a site rich in communal, civic, and spiritual connotations. This three-part course explores Mehretu’s work in relation to the concept of the agora and considers her practice against the traditions of history painting and the genre of landscape, both contested terrains with unique visual lineages and orientation towards a public.

The lectures examine the ways in which Mehretu constellates gestural mark-making, architectural rendering, cartography, and news media photography to create allegorical spaces that map histories, geopolitical entanglements, traumas, and communities. The sessions also contextualize Mehretu’s work through resonant art historical precedents and contemporary counterparts, such as the Hudson River School artists, An-My Lê, Siah Armajani, Cy Twombly, and Ian Cheng.

An open Q&A and discussion follows each session. Registrants can access on-demand course recordings for the duration of the course.

Session 1: April 16
Marks and Lenses 

Session 2: April 23
Landscapes and Monuments

Session 3: April 30
Agora and Atlas

Xin Wang is a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney and a Ph.D. candidate in modern and contemporary art at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, focusing on Soviet hauntology in postmodernism. She has curated and lectured widely in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Her latest writings have appeared in Art in America, Art Agenda, and Mousse. She is currently planning an exhibition that explores Asian Futurisms for the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City.

This event will have automated closed captions through Zoom. Live captioning is available for public programs and events upon request with seven business days advance notice. We will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made outside of that window of time. To place a request, please contact us at or (646) 666-5574 (voice). Relay and voice calls welcome.

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