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Julie Mehretu

New York, NY

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1970.

I have developed a complex drawn language of marks that behave, battle, migrate and civilize. I use this language in painting to depict a layered narrative ecosystem woven of time, space, location and identity.

Drawing from various and specific architectural blueprints, airport diagrams, urban maps, and abstraction, I construct a confused, contradictory and weightless cosmology, that mimics and questions contexts of identity at a time of rapid and extreme cultural convergence. I incorporate specific cultural vernacular derived from renaissance painting and drawing, tattoos, comic books, graffiti, graphic design, kung fu flicks, hip hop and video games to imply the multi-faceted locations that impact the construction of individual identity within the community and urban context; within the construction of nationhood, empire, and republic.

1997 MFA, honors, The Rhode Island School of Design

1992 BA Kalamazoo College

1990-91 University Cheik Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal


2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow

2005 American Art Award 2005 - Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY

2003 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant

2003 Artist in Residency at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

2002 Penny McCall Foundation Grant

2000 Artist in Residency at Headlands Center of the Arts, Sausalito, CA

2000 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant

2002 The Penny McCall Foundation Grant

2001 The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant AIR Program at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

2001 Pat Hearn Inaugural Award

1997-98 CORE Program, Glassel School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Texas

1995-97 The Rhode Island School of Design Presidential Scholar Fall Tuition Award


2007 Julie Mehretu: Black City, Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover

2007 Julie Mehretu: Black City, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humleback, Louisiana

2007 Julie Mehretu: City Sittings, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan

2006 Julie Mehretu: Black City, MUSAC - Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y León, León, Spain

2006 Julie Mehretu: Heavy Weather, Crown Point Press, San Francisco

2006 Julie Mehretu: Heavy Weather, The Print Center, Philidelphia

2006 Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany May Musac, Leon, Spain September

2005 Julie Mehretu - Drawings, Projectile Gallery, New York, NY May 5 - June 18

2005 Currents 95, Julie Mehretu, St. Louis Art Museum, MO September

2004 Julie Mehretu: Drawing into Painting, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA

2004 Julie Mehretu: Drawing into Painting, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY

2004 carlier l gebauer, Berlin, Germany (Catalogue)

2004 Matrix, University of California Berkeley Art Museum, CA

2003 Julie Mehretu: Drawing into Painting, Walker Art Center, MN (traveling) (Catalogue)

2002 White Cube, London, UK (Catalogue)

2001 The Project, New York, NY Art Pace, San Antonio, TX

1999 Module, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX

1998 Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston, TX

1996 Paintings, Sol Kofler Gallery, Providence, RI

1995 Ancestral Reflections, Archive Gallery, New York, NY; Hampshire College Gallery, Amherst, MA

Year Awarded 2000
Category Visual Arts
Mehretu_2.jpg The Seven Acts of Mercy, 2004, Acrylic on canvas
Mehretu_3.jpg Stadia II, 2004, Acrylic on canvas