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Julie Mehretu at the Marian Goodman Gallery

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

Julie Mehretu at the Marian Goodman Gallery

Cover image: Extracted image from "Inside the Studio with Julie Mehretu," filmed and published by Galerie Magazine (March 2020)
Image credit: Galerie Magazine


In addition to the bookstore that was featured in our 17 March 2022 post, Marian Goodman owns an art gallery at which works by contemporary artist Julie Mehretu* will be exhibited in a show that opens on April 2, 2022.

Portrait of Julie Mehretu, 2021
Photo credit: Josephina Santos
Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

This exhibition will be Mehretu's third at Galerie Goodman. It follows her acclaimed retrospective, which was recently presented in four major U.S. museums, featuring a new series of medium-sized paintings and two large-scale prints.

Mehretu has been reinventing abstraction for more than two decades. Her paintings, drawings, and prints are inspired by a multitude of sources that have evolved over time. In response to recent geopolitical events, she addresses international subjects of concern such as migration, revolution, social justice, climate change and the impact and repercussions of the global pandemic experienced by all nations over the past two years.

Mehretu’s examinations of contemporary events are reinforced in her recent paintings, as photographs from accredited news sources of world events serve as both the point of departure on which compositions unfold as well as the foundation for formal experimentation.

The nine paintings on view at the gallery are part of a suite of works entitled Among the Multitude. The iconic volatile black marks and shapes mingle with vibrant colors to constitute tight and dense compositions. Interacting with each other and in conversation, each of the new paintings operates like a short story or myth with an enigmatic protagonist that comes in and out of focus.

Among the Multitude V, 2021

Ink and acrylic on canvas
48 x 60 in. (121.9 x 152.4 cm)
Photo credit: Tom Powel Imaging
Copyright: Julie Mehretu
Image courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

The show also includes two monumental prints created in a collaboration with Gemini GEL, the well-known printmaking workshop based in Los Angeles.

The upcoming exhibition marks the debut of an ongoing collaboration between Mehretu and poet Robin Coste Lewis.**  An audio recording of a new poem composed by Lewis will be transmitted in the gallery space, creating a subtle conversation through the intersection of art and poetry. The text written and recorded by Lewis infiltrates the stairwell leading to the vaulted lower gallery, where visitors can view an installation called Intimacy, which was created by Lewis from her family’s private photographic archive.

Robin Coste Lewis
Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

Intimacy is a single-channel video composed of a selection of images from this archive, which Lewis discovered by chance in an old suitcase after her grandmother’s death. The sepia, tintypes, and black-and-white pictures subtly recount the history of her family who, along with millions of other African American families, fled the South as part of the Great Migration west. The video along with the accompanying poem by Lewis engages Mehretu’s own history of immigration as well her aesthetic concerns.


Intimacy, 2022
Single-channel video installation, sound, 23 min 52, looped
Copyright: Robin Coste Lewis
Image courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

The original poem and the installation were commissioned by Mehretu for this exhibition.

Julie Mehretu will be on display from April 2, 2022 - May 14, 2022. There is no charge for admission.

Galerie Marian Goodman
79 Rue du Temple
75003 Paris
Telephone: 01 48 04 70 52
Website: mariangoodman.com
Metro: Rambuteau (Line 11)
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11 AM - 7 PM

*Julie Mehretu (b. 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) lives and works in New York. She received a Bachelor of Art from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, studied at the University Cheik Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal, and received a Master of Fine Art with honors from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. She has since received many prestigious awards including the MacArthur Fellowship in 2005, the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts Award in 2015, and the Liberty Award for Artistic Leadership, New York in 2018. In 2017, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

From 2019 to 2022, Mehretu’s mid-career retrospective was presented by the LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which co-organized it, and also traveling to the Walker Museum of Art, Minneapolis, and to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Her work has been exhibited extensively in international museums and biennials, including the Carnegie International (2004–05); Sydney Biennial (2006); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); dOCUMENTA (13) (2012); Sharjah Biennial (2015); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2017); Fundación Botín, Santander, Spain (2018); Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge, UK (2019); and the 58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (2019).

**Robin Coste Lewis (b. 1964, Compton, California) is the outgoing poet laureate for the City of Los Angeles, where she now lives and works. In 2015, her debut poetry collection Voyage of the Sable Venus, which examined the fraught history of art, gender, and race, won the National Book Award in poetry––the first time
a poetry debut by an African American had ever won the prize in the National Book Foundation's history, and the first time any debut had won the award since 1974. Lewis is at work on a new collection, To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness (Knopf, 2022). She teaches in NYU’s low-residency in Paris and is writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California. Currently, she is the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

Lewis received her Bachelor of Art from Hampshire College in creative writing and comparative literature; a Master of Theological Studies degree in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from the Divinity School at Harvard University; a Master of Fine Art in poetry at New York University; and a PhD from the
University of Southern Creative Writing and Literature Program.