The High Museum presents ‘Julie Mehretu’ (October 24, 2020 to January 31, 2021), a major traveling exhibition of the work of Julie Mehretu (born 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) co-organized by the Museum of Art (LACMA ) and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
This is the first comprehensive study of the artist’s career, spanning more than two decades, from 1996 to the present day, and brings together nearly 40 drawings and prints and 35 paintings predominantly monumental in size and scale.
Mehretu’s work attests to the formation of human consciousness through the combination and reconfiguration of sources and images that address history and its intersection with the present. His process involves the compilation of a vast and diverse archive of fonts, including diagrams and maps, Chinese calligraphy, architectural renderings, graffiti, photojournalism, and various types of text.
The exhibition also reveals the importance of drawing in Mehretu’s artistic practice, from his tiny drawings made in the 1990s to his monumental paintings of the 2000s, and explores the enduring influences of indexing, diagramming and mapping. , as well as its techniques, aesthetics and ideologies.
Mehretu’s work created in the last decade is based on current images of natural disasters, human rights violations and global conflict. His most recent work in the exhibition concerns the detention camps that house migrant children along the southern border of the United States.
The scale of the work is often adapted to the size and scope of his body. This correspondence between the artist’s body and her clearly physical application of painting lends recent work a palpable sense of urgency and shock.