CREATING SPACE: ARTISTS FOR THE STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM: AN AUCTION TO BENEFIT THE MUSEUM'S NEW BUILDING
EXHIBITION HISTORY WITH THE STUDIO MUSEUM
Their Own Harlems, July 2017 - January 2018
Brothers and Sisters, March - June 2013
The Bearden Project, November 2011 - March 2012
Collected: Reflections on the Permanent Collection, April - June 2010
Collection in Context, April - July 2005
Freestyle, April - June 2001
For the Record: Artists in Residence 2000-2001, July - September 2001
Studio Museum Artist-in-Residence, 2000 - 2001
Known for her highly ambitious, wonderfully dizzying, and intricate masterpieces, Julie Mehretu has distinguished herself as one of the leading artists of her generation. Mehretu’s output has become instantly recognizable for its complex compositions and mythical worlds that toe the line between the real, virtual, and imagined. Her earlier, architecturally structured and sublimely layered works engaged art historical movements from Constructivism to Futurism; “built …over time, stratum upon stratum, beginning with architectural scores sampled from sources at once diverse and precise, and materializing through an accretion of graphic shapes and expressive marks.” (Simeon Allen, “Destruction/Construction,” Exh. Cat., Detroit, Detroit Institute of the Arts, 2007, p. 50) In more recent works, the same art historical depth comes to play even as the architecture gives way to freer, bolder spirited mark-making; an evolved vocabulary of abstraction that merges with ardent gestural cadence to make works at once epic and intimate. Current events underlay these paintings in blurred, abstracted, reimagined photographic compositions, insinuating in their totality, a survey of the annals and multiplicities of history, across both politics and art. “Each painting is an occurrence preserved, but only for a moment, in an uneasy split-second resting point. Composition is action, a physical laying down of one snapshot over another. Stacked in transparent films, coexistent histories are embedded yet still visible in the terrain of a hyperreal city.” (Ibid.) Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mehretu studied at University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Kalamazoo College, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Following her completion of the Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum, Mehretu participated in several of the museum’s shows, including Freestyle (2001), The Bearden Project (2012) and Their Own Harlems (2017-18). Among the highlights of her career are a bevy of prestigious awards, inclusion in major exhibitions at internationally-renowned institutions, and participation in a number of biennials around the world. Through her visual panoply of imagery that evokes the events of our times while engaging with the history of art, Mehretu continues to probe the formal techniques of her predecessors through the lens of a contemporary worldview.
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