Photos: LACMA’s Julie Mehretu Opening Party Proves Painting is far from Passé

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The stunning of-the-moment exhibit plays with scale, maps and iconography. It’s on display until March 2020.

There’s a thrill to seeing a museum exhibit by a living artist. The fact that their work speaks to this very passage of time and that they could be standing by your side at any moment adds to the electricity of the artwork. Both of these factors were the case at LACMA’s lively and free Julie Mehretu exhibit opening party on Oct. 30, 2019.

One such work on display was Mehretu’s “Hineni (E. 3:4).” It’s a bright abstract orange painting that was prompted by the devastating California fall fires of 2017. The canvas is densely covered in frenetic dark and yellow marks and shapes. A large swath of art goers stood enraptured by the painting.

Mehretu is a painter that is renown for winning a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award in 2005 for her abstract works that often represent the fragmentation and speed of our daily lives. Her work is distinguished by its use of mapping, iconography, figurative markings and playful use of scale. Mehretu was born in Ethiopia, raised in Michigan and lives in Harlem — and these migrations deeply inform her work.

LACMA’s exhibition, co-organized with New York’s Whitney Museum, is the first-ever comprehensive survey of Mehretu’s work, with more than 70 of the boundary-pushing artist’s works.

The recent prosecco-doused opening party featured a DJ, late-night viewings of all the galleries and an appearance and talk by Mehretu. A diverse mix of artists, fanciful students, entrepreneurs, creative couples and even an Ethiopian prince were in attendance.

Los Angeleno‘s photographer Jonathan Brown was there to capture the scene. 

  • Thabisile Griffin, Nesanet Abegaze
  • Ezinne Iroanya-Adeoye, Andrea Cadioli
  • Stephen Glassman, HRH Mulumebet Selassie Mesjin
  • Mehretu’s “Hineni (E. 3:4)”
  • Ben Balken
  • Paul Pescador (artist), Linda Theung
  • Liseanne Frankfurt (owner LFrank), Katherine Ross (Wear LACMA founder)
  • Rebeka Rodriguez, Juliana Delgado Lopera (Author)
  • Niels Borch Jensen
  • H.R.H. Mulumebet Selassie Mesjin, Prince Solomonic H. Selassie, Unknown
  • Lynn Ollie
  • John Barber, Nicole Clifford
  • Huntz Liu (artist), Vivian Bang (Actor)
  • Paul Pescador (artist), Linda Theung
  • Liseanne Frankfurt (owner LFrank), Katherine Ross (Wear LACMA founder)
  • H.R.H. Mulumebet Selassie Mesjin


Julie Mehretu Exhibit open Nov. 3, 2019 - March 22, 2020.


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