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BMW taps Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu to paint its latest Art Car

Addis Ababa, June 29, 2023 (FBC) – Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu, known for her work in abstract painting, has been chosen to create the company’s next Art Car.

It is stated that her artwork, painted on a BMW M Hybrid V8, will be on the track at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June 2024.

According to CNN, the first BMW Art Car was painted in 1975 by the American sculptor Alexander Calder after French racing driver Hervé Poulain brought the idea to BMW.

The first woman to take on a BMW Art Car was South African artist Esther Mahlangu, who in 1991 painted a 525i sedan.

Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu will be the 20th BMW Art Car.

Her large-scale abstract works frequently draw inspiration from architecture and busy urban settings, featuring intricate juxtapositions of lines and shapes inspired by technical drawings and building plans and, sometimes, splashes of color or deep darkness.

Her work has also addressed themes such as migration, colonialization and globalization.

She is represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery, which describes her work on its website as “a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space.”

“Julie Mehretu’s practice in painting, drawing and printmaking equally assert the role of art to provoke thought and reflection, and express the contemporary condition of the individual and society,” the gallery added.

Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu was born in 1970 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to an Ethiopian father and an American mother.

Seven years later, the family moved to the United State.

In 1997, she earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design; she is currently based in New York.

She has received widespread acclaim for her work and prestigious awards including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005 and, in 2015, a US Department of State Medal of Arts Award.

She was unanimously selected for this project by a jury of prominent gallery and museum directors.

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