The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is presenting a survey of Julie Mehretu’s work from November 2019 to March 2020, so the time is right for her to assess where she’s at, and to decide what new work to make with several upcoming gallery shows. Her residency, she said, is “a way to turn 180 degrees and look at everything differently.” Her time in Rome is split between three seasons: a week in the fall, a month in the spring, and another month in the summer.
Mehretu has visited Rome nearly every year since 1992—her father, Assefa Mehretu, is a professor of geography at Michigan State University who directs the summer Rome Social Science Program in Italy—and the city has been part of her creative mind and part of who she is. Julie has been on a quest to see every Caravaggio painting and hopes to gain access to otherwise inaccessible works, such as The Conversion of Saint Paul (1600) in the Odescalchi Balbi Collection. She will also travel to Naples to see three paintings—Seven Works of Mercy (1607), Flagellation of Christ (ca. 1607), and Martyrdom of Saint Ursula (1610)—that she’s not yet laid eyes on. Mehretu spoke with J. Meejin Yoon and Adam D. Weinberg during a Conversations | Conversazioni in November. She and Meejin will also participate in AAR’s spring exhibition, Encounters II, opening in May.