Skip to main content

Julie Mehretu
Mar 25–Aug 8, 2021

For more than two decades, Julie Mehretu (b. 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) has been engaged in a deep exploration of painting. She creates new forms and finds unexpected resonances by drawing from the histories of art and human civilization—from Babylonian stelae to architectural sketches, from European history painting to the sites and symbols of African liberation movements. Some of Mehretu’s imagery and titles hint at their representational origins, but her work remains steadfastly abstract.

Comprising approximately thirty paintings and forty works on paper dating from 1996 to the present day, this mid-career survey of Julie Mehretu presents the most comprehensive overview of her practice to date. She plays with the parameters of abstraction, architecture, landscape, scale, and, most recently, figuration. At its core, Mehretu’s art is invested in our lived experiences, and examines how forces such as migration, capitalism, and climate change impact human populations—and possibilities.

Julie Mehretu is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition is curated by Christine Y. Kim, curator of contemporary art at LACMA, with Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney.

Generous support is provided by the Ford Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

In New York, the exhibition is sponsored by

Generous support is provided by Judy Hart Angelo, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and Jack Shear, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and the Whitney’s National Committee.

Major support is provided by Lise and Michael Evans, Agnes Gund, Sueyun and Gene Locks, Susan and Larry Marx, and Sami and Hala Mnaymneh.

Significant support is provided by Sarah Arison, Abigail and Joseph Baratta, Fotene and Tom Coté, Krystyna Doerfler, the Evelyn Toll Family Foundation, Andrew and Barbara Gundlach, Mellody Hobson, the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, the Kapadia Equity Fund, Jill and Peter Kraus, Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, Suzanne McFayden, Katie and Amnon Rodan, and Sotheby’s.

Additional support is provided by The Cowles Charitable Trust; Jeffrey Deitch; Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg; Christy and Bill Gatreaux; Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins; the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc.; Laura Rapp and Jay Smith; Barbara Shuster; and Rosina Lee Yue. 

New York magazine is the exclusive media sponsor. 


Artworks



Events

View all

Audio Guides

An abstract painting with geometric shapes and swirls of color on a beige background.

Hear directly from the artist and curator on selected works from the exhibition.


In the News

"[O]ne of the most significant painters of her generation" —Galerie

"Julie Mehretu Makes Art Big Enough to Get Lost In"—The Wall Street Journal

"Mehretu blends abstraction and representation in open response to current events"—The Paris Review

"[Mehretu's] art is ultimately in conversation with vulnerable people confronting power around the globe"—Essence

"With a robust online counterpart, this mid-career survey will let you get in close and savor the details that might otherwise be lost."—Elle Decor

"Spanning the past 25 years of her work, the Whitney exhibition is an eye-opener."—W Magazine

“Can you be both an agent of change and art-world royalty? This artist’s reign on the Whitney Museum’s fifth floor shows it’s possible.”New York Times

“This exhibition will take viewers through a mindful journey of how realities of the past and present can shape human consciousness.”—Hypebeast

“Mehretu has packed, unpacked, and metamorphosed more ideas and innovations, more magically, than any artist in many years”Slate

“It is infinitely gratifying..."Juxtapoz


Sunrise

Sunset

A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

Learn more