Julie Mehretu


Born in Ethiopia in 1970, Julie Mehretu and her family fled the country to live in East Lansing, Michigan when she was 7 years old. After earning an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Providence and Design, Mehretu moved to her current residence New York City in 1999 where she shares a studio with her partner artist Jessica Rankin.

Most famous for her large canvases of abstract paintings and drawings, Mehretu’s technique usually involves layering acrylic paint and marking it with ink, a pencil, or thick streams of paint. She overlays these often with architectural plans for porticos, facades, or columns but each one showing a different perspective of the construction displayed on the chart.

Mehretu’s work has also had a great focus on print-making, collaborating with studios such as Highpoint Editions in Minneapolis, Crown Point Press in San Francisco, Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles, and Derrière L’Etoile Studios and Burnet Editions in New York City.

Her contribution to art has gained Mehretu a MacArthur fellowship in 2005, the 15th commission of the Deutsche Guggenheim allowing her to produce Grey Area, and the US Department of State Medal of Arts in 2015.

Collections of her work can be found at; the Minneapolis Institute of Art; Moma, New York; Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Studio Museum in Harlem, and the San Diego Museum of Art.