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SMFA Medal Talk: Julie Mehertu
Join us in celebrating painter Julie Mehretu as the 2021 SMFA at Tufts Medal recipient. Established in 1996 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the SMFA at Tufts Medal has been awarded to noteworthy and influential luminaries of the art world who demonstrate creative excellence and enduring commitment to the arts. Recent recipients include Lorna Simpson (2018), James Turrell (2017), Mona Hatoum (2015), John Baldessari (2014), and Sarah Sze (2013).

For the 2021 SMFA at Tufts Medal, we are thrilled to honor Julie Mehretu, a globally recognized artist-activist whose important mid-career survey opened in 2019 at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, California and, after a delay, will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in March.

In exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern-day phenomenology of the social, Mehretu's works engage us in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space. Culled from archival sources-from ancient city plans, civic buildings, urban designs, public squares, tombs, palaces, ruins, etc-her paintings combine meticulous graphic drawing with spontaneous gesture. Mehretu begins with the premise of architecture as a medium of social history and power and proceeds to imagine a new present, a fictional topography realized through a formal vocabulary of line, color, gesture, markings, grids, characters, swarms, blurs, washes, which are overlaid and stratified on the surface of the canvas.

Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970 and lives and works in New York City. Mehretu’s many awards include The MacArthur Award (2005), the Berlin Prize: Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany (2007), and the US Department of State Medal of Arts Award (2015).

Apr 15, 2021 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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