Art Review: Julie Mehretu Show at Whitney Museum

Ignore the identity politics and radical-chic vibe, and take in her extraordinary cityscapes.


n Julie Mehretu, the mid-career survey of an exceptional, intriguing artist, the Whitney’s committed the highest crime in the realm of retrospectives. It made me like the artist less. The exhibition and book are ponderous and grasping, but that’s not entirely Mehretu’s fault. I still like her work, and like it a lot.

She’s only 51. Her trademark — immense, abstract bird’s-eye views of stadiums and cities — is getting tired, and making them bigger and bigger doesn’t make them better or different. It makes them shouty. I’m not against an artist doing the same thing over and over if the

(Photograph by Ron Amstutz)

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