Medium
Image rights
© Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu’s work is about layers: the physical layering of images, marks, and mediums, and the figurative layering of time, space, place, and history. Working in a large scale, Mehretu draws on the 21st-century city for inspiration, transferring its energy into her gestural sweeps of paint and built-up marks in ink and pencil—often transposed from projections—and condensing seemingly infinite urban narratives, architectural views, and street plans into single unified compositions. “The narratives come together to create this overall picture that you see from the distance,” she says. “As you come close to it […] the big picture completely shatters and there are these numerous small narratives happening.” Mehretu layers a range of influences and art historical references as well, from the dynamism espoused by the Futurists, to the scale and physicality of Abstract Expressionism, to the divergent markmaking of Albrecht Dürer, Eastern calligraphy, and graffiti. Mehretu was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005.

High auction record
$6.5m, Artsy, 2021
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Selected exhibitions
2021
Julie Mehretu: A Decade of Printmaking at Gemini G.E.L.Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl
2020
Julie MehretuWhitney Museum of American Art
2019
Julie MehretuLos Angeles County Museum of Art
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Stadia I, 2004

Ink and acrylic on canvas
107 × 140 in
271.8 × 355.6 cm
Permanent collection
Location
San Francisco
Medium
Image rights
© Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu’s work is about layers: the physical layering of images, marks, and mediums, and the figurative layering of time, space, place, and history. Working in a large scale, Mehretu draws on the 21st-century city for inspiration, transferring its energy into her gestural sweeps of paint and built-up marks in ink and pencil—often transposed from projections—and condensing seemingly infinite urban narratives, architectural views, and street plans into single unified compositions. “The narratives come together to create this overall picture that you see from the distance,” she says. “As you come close to it […] the big picture completely shatters and there are these numerous small narratives happening.” Mehretu layers a range of influences and art historical references as well, from the dynamism espoused by the Futurists, to the scale and physicality of Abstract Expressionism, to the divergent markmaking of Albrecht Dürer, Eastern calligraphy, and graffiti. Mehretu was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005.

High auction record
$6.5m, Artsy, 2021
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Selected exhibitions (3)
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