Julie Mehretu ’92 is one of 14 new members voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Mehretu is among the most celebrated of contemporary painters in the world. She works from studios in New York City and Berlin. She has exhibited in several important group exhibitions including “Poetic Justice”, 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003); Whitney Biennial; São Paolo Biennial and Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2004); the Biennale of Sydney and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006); Prospect 1, New Orleans (2008); “Automatic Cities” MCA San Diego (2009); “From Picasso to Julie Mehretu,” British Museum, London (2010) and Document XIII, Kassel (2012). Solo exhibitions include Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; REDCAT, Los Angeles and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2003); St Louis Art Museum (2005) and MUSAC, Léon, Spain (2006); “City Sitings,” Detroit Institute of Art and “Black City” Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (2007); North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, (2008); “Grey Area,” Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2009) and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010). In 2015 Mehretu was honored with the U.S. State Department’s National Medal of Arts.
The arts academy, an honorary society with a core membership of 250 writers, artists, composers and architects, was founded in 1898, with members since ranging from Henry James and William Dean Howells to Chuck Close and Stephen Sondheim. The new inductees will be formally welcomed at a ceremony at the New York-based academy in May, where academy member Joyce Carol Oates will deliver the keynote address. Previous speakers have included Helen Keller, Robert Frost and Robert Caro. The new group of inductees features Kalamazoo College connections through its Summer Common Reading program. Among the writers the academy honored this year are Junot Diaz, Ann Patchett and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. All visited K for the SCR program, which featured their novels, respectively, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Bel Canto, and Purple Hibiscus.