‘It’s a Sensual Kind of Experience of the World’: Julie Mehretu on Why She’s Letting Intuition Guide Her Art Practice Now More Than Ever

Julie Mehretu, Loop (B. Lozano, Bolsonaro eve) (2019–20). Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. Photo credit: Tom Powel Imaging. Copyright: Julie Mehretu.

In February, Julie Mehretu was deep in the process of painting a large-scale diptych for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where her mid-career survey opens on Thursday after previous runs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the High Museum in Atlanta.

On a Zoom call from her Chelsea studio, which overlooks the Hudson River and New York Harbor, Mehretu said the wall for her new site-specific work at the Whitney faces windows onto the same view of the Statue of Liberty. The artist, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Michigan, described the symbolic point of entry to the United States as a conceptual departure point from which to consider the history of migration, as explored in her multilayered abstract painting.

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