By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL-Famous Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu has been tapped by BMW to paint their 20th art car. Mehretu whose work has received widespread accolades, often draws inspiration from architecture and bustling urban settings using intricate, unique line and shape patterns. Those who know her work well, describe it as focusing on humanity, addressing themes that include migration, colonization and globalization. Mehretu’s work is known for its movement, complex emotion with some of her top work showcased in large-scale as the 80-foot mural she created for the lobby of Goldman Sachs in Manhattan.
Mehretu was the unanimous choice to paint the BMW Art Car and was chosen for the project by a jury of well-known gallery and museum directors. Previous artists whose art was chosen by BMW for respective Art Cars include Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer and Robert Rauschenberg using their signature styles. Her work is known for its ability to be thought-provoking and as her gallery, the Marian Goodman Gallery said, represents “a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space.”
Mehretu is the recipient of prestigious awards including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005, in 2015, a U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts Award. Her artwork, painted on a BMW M Hybrid-V8 will be on display on the track at the 24 hours of Le Mans race in June 2024 in France. The first BMW Art Car was painted in 1975 by the American sculptor Alexander Calder after French racing driver Herve Poulain gave BMW the idea.