Artwork Details

Julie Mehretu
American, b. Ethiopia


Unclosed (No. 16)
Color hard ground etching with spit bite aquatint and drypoint on paper
35 3/4 x 44 3/4 inches
Not on view
Accession Number
Museum Purchase with funds provided by Patti, Dick and Melissa Jones, the Shiloh family, and friends in memory of Janice Long Gleason
Image Copyright
© Julie Mehretu

About the Artwork

Julie Mehretu creates large scale multi-layer paintings inspired by mapping and architecture, like this work in GRAM’s Collection.

Mehretu’s work is often about her multiple, intersecting identities — she is Black, an immigrant, a mother, and married to a woman. Making art, says Mehretu, is about trying to make sense of who you are.” Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mehretu’s family fled the country to escape political turmoil and moved to East Lansing, Michigan for her father’s teaching position at Michigan State University. She was educated in Rhode Island and Senegal and as an adult, has lived in both New York City and Berlin.

Her life experience is reflected in her visual mark-making, which is drawn from maps, urban-planning grids, and architectural forms. She combines these elements to make dynamic, delicate paintings, drawings, and prints that blur the line between abstraction and figuration.