Julie Mehretu (Ethiopian/American, b.1970) is an Abstract printmaker and painter. She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to Michigan with her family in 1977. She began her education at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, and then went on to earn a BA in Art from Kalamazoo College, and a MFA from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1997.

Mehretu has lived and worked in New York, NY, since beginning her career in 1999, but she also has a studio in Berlin that she uses for part of each year. She produces large scale prints, drawings, and paintings that use heavy layering to create Abstract imagery from patterns and architectural photographs. Hundreds of thin and translucent layers of paint and paper cover the canvas of each painting. Critics have linked her work to nonliteral art movements ranging from Futurism to Constructivism. All of her works, regardless of format, involve symbolism drawn from graffiti, city maps, and comic book graphics. Explosions and sharp or arching line work are constant themes running throughout her body of work. Mehretu has drawn inspiration from the large-scale works of Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman.

One of the artist’s most widely known works is the 80-foot-wide mural located in Goldman Sachs tower entitled Mural. It is visible from the street, and was commissioned by the banking firm in 2010. Her painting Untitled 1 is also popular and sold for over US$1,000,000 at Sotheby’s auction house in 2010. Mehretu’s drawings were included in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York entitled Drawing Now: Eight Propositions in 2002. The Palazzo Grassi in Venice also hosted her work for their Praise Of Doubt exhibition in 2011. Her first major solo exhibition, Grey Area, took place at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2010. Her current body of work is part of a permanent collection in the Museum of Modern Art. Representation for Mehretu is handled by Marian Goodman Gallery in New York and White Cube of London. She has received the Berlin Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Award, and the American Art Award. Mehretu lives and works in New York and Berlin, Germany.


Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Studied at the University Cheik Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal
BA at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI
MFA, Honors, The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
AIR Program at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant
The Penny McCall Foundation Grant
Mitchell Foundation Grant
Artist in Residency at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
MacArthur Fellow
American Art Award, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY
The Rhode Island School of Design Alumni Council Artistic Achievement Award, Providence, RI
American Academy in Berlin Fellowship


Liminal Squared, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York (solo)
Liminal Squared, White Cube, London (solo)
Mind, Breath and Beat Drawings, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris (solo)
The Gesture and the Sign, White Cube, Sao Paulo
The Temptation of the Diagram, Andrea Rosen Gallery 2 , New York
Highlights 2012, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany
‘The Painting Factory’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Multiplicity’, Smithsonian, Washington D.C.
The Bearden Project’, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
In Praise of Doubt, Punta della Dogana, François Pinault Foundation, Venice, Italy
‘Seeing/Knowing’, Graham Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Ohio
Three Artists: Julie Mehretu, Julian Lethbridge, Wayne Gonzales, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu, High Point Prints, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
Grey Area, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Automatic Cities, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA
Who's Afraid of the Artists?, Palais des Arts de Dinard, Dinard, France
Extreme Frontiers, Urban Frontiers, Institute of Contemporary Art (IVAM), Valencia, Spain
City Sitings, Williams College Art Gallery, Williamstown, MA (solo)
Eye of the Storm, Carl Scholsberg Gallery, Montserrat College, Beverley, MA (solo)
City Sitings, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC (solo)
I Bought the Brooklyn Bridge, Kupferstichkebinett, Berlin, Germany
Disguise: The art of attracting and deflecting attention, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Vou-te contar uma história: Let me tell you a story, Porta 33, Madeira, Portugal
Prospect 1, New Orleans Biennale, New Orleans, LA
The Cosmos: A Group Exhibition, Crown Point Press Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Drawn to Detail, Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA
Collection of Greenberg-Rohatyn, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Julie Mehretu: Black City, Kunstverein Hannover, Hanover, Germany (solo)
Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark (solo)
Comic Abstraction, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Julie Mehretu: City Sitings, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI (solo)
Collector's Choice III. Audacity in Art; Selected Works from Central Florida Collections, Orlando, FL
Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Lines, Texas Gallery, Houston, TX
Reflexive Drawings, Simon Fraser University Gallery, Burnaby, Canada
Williams College of Art, Williamstown, NJ
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
African Art Today: An Unbounded Vista, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO
The 15th Biennale of Sydney, International Festival of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia
The Compulsive Line: Etching 1900 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
MUSAC- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Leon, Leon, Spain (solo)
Julie Mehretu: Heavy Weather, Crown Point Press, San Francisco, CA (solo)
When Artists Say We, Artists Space, New York, NY
Remote Viewing: Invented Worlds in Recent Painting and Drawing, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
ARCO, Madrid, Spain
SWARM, The Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA
Mapping Space: Selections from the Collection, Miami Art Museum, FL
Remote Viewing: Invented Worlds in Recent Painting and Drawing, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Baroque and Neobaroque, Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain
Prints into Drawings, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Mythologies, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
On Line, Louisiana Contemporary, Humlebæk, Denmark
Julie Mehretu: Drawings, Projectile Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Currents 95: Julie Mehretu, St. Louis Art Museum, MO (solo)
Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, NY
Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art, Pace Wildenstein, New York, NY
Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Back to Paint, C & M Arts, New York, NY
Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Firewall, Ausstellungshalle Zeitgenössische Kunst, Münster, Germany
Africa Remix, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany (traveled to Hayward Gallery, London, UK; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan)
Carlier l gebauer, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Julie Mehretu: MATRIX 211, Manifestation, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA (solo)
Julie Mehretu: Drawing into Painting, Walker Art Center, MN; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (solo)
Poetic Justice, 8th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
Lazarus Effect, Prague Biennial 1, Prague, Czech Republic
The Moderns, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turino, Italy
GNS, Palais du Tokyo, Paris, France
Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Comics in Contemporary Art, 1970 -2000, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH
Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora, National Museum for African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Metascape, Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH
Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Stalder-Mehretu-Solakov, Kunstmuseum Thun, Thun, Switzerland
Out of Site, New Museum, New York, NY
Centre of Attraction, The 8th Baltic Triennal of International Art, Vilnius, Lithuania
Busan Biennale 2002, Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, Busan, Korea
White Cube, London, UK (solo)
Systems, Contemporary Arts Museum, St. Louis, MO
Wallow, The Project, New York, NY
Urgent Painting, Musee d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, France
The Americans, Barbican Art Centre, London, UK
Painting at the Edge of the World, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN
Freestyle, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Artists-in-Residence, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Casino 2001, Stedeiijk Museum Voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium
The Project, New York, NY (solo)
Art Pace, San Antonio, TX (solo)
Selections Fall 2000, The Drawing Center, New York, NY
Five Continents and One City, Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico, Mexcio City, Mexico
Greater New York, P.S. 1 Contemporary Arts Center, New York, NY
Glenn Brown, Julie Mehretu, Peter Rostovsky, The Project, New York, NY
Architecture and Memory, Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren, New York, NY
Material, Process, Memory, The Jones Center for Contemporary Art, Austin, TX
The Stroke, Exit Art, New York, NY
Hot Spots: Houston, Miami and Los Angeles, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, NC
Core 1999, The Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX
Artistic Centers in Texas: Houston and Galveston, Texas Fine Arts, TX
Module, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX (solo)
Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston, TX (solo)
Universal Pictures, Rudolph Poissant Gallery, Houston, TX
Core 1998, The Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX
Annual Graduate Student Exhibition, The Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
The Bombastic Righteous Passively Become Apparent Absurdities, Collaborative Installation with Benjamin Edwards, Sol Kofler Gallery, Providence, RI
Paintings, Sol Kofler Gallery, Providence, RI (solo)
Ancestral Reflections, Archive Gallery, New York, NY; Hampshire College Gallery, Amherst, MA (solo)
A Woman's View, The World Bank International Women's Exhibition, The World Bank Art Society, Washington DC
Yewenshet, Three Ethiopian Painters, The Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY

Public Collections

Brooklyn Museum, New York
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY
Philadelphia Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY