Edited by Mikkel Hyldebrandt

This fall, the High Museum will present “Julie Mehretu”, a major traveling exhibition of work by Julie Mehretu (born 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art. This is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s career, covering more than two decades of her work, from 1996 to the present, and uniting nearly 40 drawings and prints and 35 paintings predominantly monumental in size and scale. 

Julie Mehretu, Stadia II, 2004, ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 144 inches, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, gift of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund. © Julie Mehretu, photograph courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art.

After being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Museum is open again to the public with a times ticket system and face covering requirements, so that visitors can enjoy the museum while adhering to CDC safety guidelines. The High Museum opens its doors with a major comprehensive exhibition of Julie Mehretu’s work covering more than two decades of the artist’s monumental art.

Mehretu’s involves compiling a vast and diverse archive of sources, including diagrams and maps, cave markings, Chinese calligraphy, architectural renderings, graffiti, photojournalism and texts. The exhibition also reveals the centrality of drawing in Mehretu’s artistic practice, from her diminutive drawings made in the 1990s to her monumental paintings of the 2000s, and explores the abiding influences of indexing, diagramming, and mapping as well as their techniques, aesthetics, and ideologies.  

Julie Mehretu, Migration Direction Map, 1996, ink on mylar, 18 × 12 inches, private collection. © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Cathy Carver.

Mehretu’s work of the past decade draws from present-day images of natural disasters, human rights atrocities and global conflicts. Her most recent work in the exhibition refers to the detention camps holding migrant children along the southern border of the United States and is often scaled to the size and reach of her body. This correspondence between the artist’s body and her distinctly physical application of paint (and erasure of objective imagery), in combination with fragmented images produced in drawing, printmaking and stenciling techniques, lend the recent work a palpable sense of urgency and poignancy.   

A highlight of the exhibition is Mehretu’s cycle of four monumentally scaled paintings titled “Mogamma (A Painting in Four Parts)” (2012). Reunited for the first time since they were last shown together in 2013, “Mogamma” interrogates themes of migration, revolution, global capitalism and technology at the dawn of the Arab Spring. Each painting in the cycle belongs to four different museums across three continents. The High Museum of Art acquired “Mogamma (Part 2)” in 2013. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to present this sweeping examination of Mehretu’s dynamic, multi-faceted career,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “The globally conscience themes in her work align strongly with our commitment to celebrating diverse perspectives through the High’s collection and exhibition program. We look forward to offering our audiences a chance to experience a broad spectrum of her creative genius.”

“Julie Mehretu” will be on view October 24, 2020 to January 31, 2021, in the Cousins Special Exhibition Galleries on the Second Level of the High’s Wieland Pavilion.

Go to high.org to book your timed tickets, and don’t forget to wear a face covering when visiting the museum.

Currently on Display at the High

After being closed to the public due to the ongoing pandemic, the High is open again, but tickets are issued according to a timing system and all visitors have to wear a face covering. That way, you can enjoy what’s on display right now at the High in safe and socially distant manner.

Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books

August 15 – November 8, 2020

The exhibition is the first of its kind to delve into the events, people and themes of the civil rights movement, both celebrated and forgotten, through one of the most compelling forms of visual expression, the children’s picture book. The more than 80 artworks on view, ranging from paintings and prints to collages and drawings, will evoke the power and continuing relevance of the era that shaped American history and continues to reverberate today.

Image courtesy of SO – IL

Murmuration

July 17 through November 29, 2020

Murmuration is a soaring, stunning installation by the internationally renowned architecture and design firm SO – IL and partners Jing Liu and Florian Idenburg. Presented on The Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza, the installation continues a multiyear initiative to activate the High’s outdoor space with site-specific commissions that engage visitors of all ages.