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Hillary, Chelsea Clinton and Nikki R. Haley Headline this Years MJCCA’s Book Festival

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Calling all book lovers! From October 30 – November 18, 2019, theBook Festival of the MJCCA will celebrate 28 years of bringing culture and conversation to the greater Atlanta community. This year’s Book Festival repertoire of 45+ authors has something to offer all festival-goers. More than 13,000 people from across the Southeast will come to engage with and listen to their favorite local, national, and international authors. All events will be held at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA), 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody.

Purchase Tickets/More Info: Purchase tickets for each individual event, or, for a better value, purchase a series pass for access to most of our November events. Some events are free. Call the MJCCA Box Office at 678.812.4002, email bookfestival@atlantajcc.org, or visit us online at atlantajcc.org/bookfestivalTickets are now on sale for all events.

Book Festival of the MJCCA Co-Chairs

“We are thrilled about this year’s lineup,” said Book Festival Co-Chair Deena Profis. “The 28th Edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA features everyone from acclaimed actors and renowned political figures; to historians and award-winning novelists; to authors presenting award-winning cookbooks and riveting memoirs. We truly have something for everyone.”

“Included in our exciting lineup are some of Atlanta’s best local authors presenting their work,” explained Book Festival Co-Chair Susie Hyman. “Additionally, I am thrilled that we will bring back our ‘In Conversation’ interviews between authors and local journalists; as well as various events with book clubs from throughout the city.”

Complete Author Lineup (Oct. 30 – Nov. 18, 2019):

  • Wednesday, October 30, 7:30 pm – (Member/Community $15-$75)

HENRY WINKLER and LIN OLIVERAlien Superstar

Opening Night

In Conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Journalist

From the New York Times bestselling authors Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver comes a new, out-of-this-world middle-grade series about a space alien who visits Hollywood as a tourist and becomes a star!

Henry Winkler is an Emmy Award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer who has created some of the most iconic TV roles, including the Fonz in Happy Days and Gene Cousineau in Barry.

Lin Oliver is a children’s book writer and a writer and producer for both TV and film. She is currently the executive director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. They both live in Los Angeles.

  • Saturday, November 2, 8:00 pm – (Member $18* / Community $25*)

BEN MEZRICHBitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption
In Conversation with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer and Bestselling Author

From Ben Mezrich, the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, comes Bitcoin Billionaires—the fascinating story of brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’s big bet on cryptocurrency and its dazzling pay-off.

Ben Mezrich’s 2009 bestseller The Accidental Billionaires is the definitive account of Facebook’s founding and the basis for the Academy Award–winning film The Social Network. Two of the story’s iconic characters are Harvard students Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss: identical twins, Olympic rowers, and foils to Mark Zuckerberg. Bitcoin Billionaires is the story of the brothers’ redemption and revenge in the wake of their epic legal battle with Facebook.

  • Sunday, November 3, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program, Two Authors
In Conversation with Dr. Catherine M. Lewis, Professor of History, Kennesaw State University

The Volunteer is the incredible true story of a Polish resistance fighter’s infiltration of Auschwitz to sabotage the camp from within, and his death-defying attempt to warn the Allies about Nazi plans for a “Final Solution” before it was too late.

After learning about Nazi persecution of his family, Herschel Grynszpan, an impoverished 17-year-old Jew living in Paris, went to the German Embassy and shot the first German diplomat he saw. Hitler and Joseph Goebbels made the diplomat’s death their pretext for the state-sponsored wave of anti-Semitic terror known as Kristallnacht. Overnight, Grynszpan was front-page news and a pawn in a global power struggle.

Sunday, November 3, 3:30 pm – (Member/Community: $10-$75)

In Conversation with Mara Davis, Local Media Personality
Each week, six million Americans tune in to the Emmy-nominated hit show American Ninja Warrior (ANW) to watch everyday people take on extraordinary obstacles. ANW’s beloved co-host Akbar Gbajabiamila knows all about tackling obstacles. The son of Nigerian immigrants, he is one of seven siblings who grew up in South Central Los Angeles at the height of the L.A. riots. In his new book, Everyone Can Be a Ninja, Gbajabiamila draws inspiration from both the fierce competitors on his show and his own unlikely path to success to outline what it takes to become a modern-day ninja. Member/Com: $35–75

Sunday, November 3, 7:30 pm –(Member/Community: $35-75, Includes one hardcover copy of the book.)

In Conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Journalist

If your mom told you “it’s what on the inside that counts,” then she probably was never a competitive figure skater. Olympic bronze medalist, Adam Rippon, has been making it pretty for the judges even when everything was an absolute mess below the surface.

From taking a bus with ex-convicts to being so poor he could only afford to eat the free apples at his gym, Rippon got through the toughest times with a smile on his face and glint in his eye. Beautiful on the Outside looks at his journey from being a home-schooled kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to becoming an Olympic athlete, Dancing with the Stars champion, LGBTQ activist, and Dancing with the Stars: Junior judge. It may be what’s on the inside that counts, but life is so much better when it’s beautiful on the outside.

Monday, November 4, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

In Conversation with Victoria Comella, Freelance Writer

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes a new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience. In 1942, Cilka is just 16 years old when she is taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other female prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power equals survival. When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? Where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka?

  • Monday, November 4, 7:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

JULIE SALAMONAn Innocent Bystander: The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer

In Conversation with Gail Evans, Former EVP, CNN; Bestselling Author

In October 1985, Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish New Yorker, boarded the Achille Lauro with his wife to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary. Four days later, four Palestinian fedayeen hijacked the ship and took the passengers and crew hostage. Klinghoffer was shot in the head, his body and wheelchair thrown overboard. His murder became a flashpoint in the struggle between Israelis and Arabs, giving Americans a horrifying preview of terrorism hitting home. This geopolitical thriller is filled with the tension wrought by terrorism and its repercussions today.

  • Tuesday, November 5, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program, Two Authors

In Conversation with Lisa Shore, Bestselling Author

Sylvie Snow knows the pressures of expectations. A woman is supposed to work hard, but never be tired; age gracefully, but always be beautiful; fix the family problems, but always be carefree. Sylvie does the grocery shopping, laundry, scheduling, schlepping, and the PTA-ing, while planning her son’s bar mitzvah and cheerfully tending to her

her husband, Paul, who’s been lying on the sofa with a broken ankle. She’s also secretly addicted to her husband’s Oxycontin. She tells herself the pills are temporary, just a gift, and that she’ll go back to her regularly scheduled programming when the supply runs out. But days turn into weeks, and Sylvie slips slowly into a nightmare. As the bar mitzvah nears, the family must face the void within themselves.

Kerrie O’Malley, jobless and in an unfulfilling relationship, knows the exact moment when her life veered off course—the night she was irrevocably wronged by someone she looked up to. When Kerrie sees the woman who destroyed her life on television 18 years later, a fire ignites inside her. The stakes are high. The risks are perilous.

But she’ll stop at nothing to achieve the retribution she deserves. Jordana Pierson appears to have it all: wealth, glamour, a handsome husband, and a thriving wedding concierge business. Her record is spotless. Her business is flourishing. No one knows the truth about her and the dark shadows of her past. No one, that is, except Kerrie. Pretty Revenge is a riveting novel bursting with twists, turns, and suspenseful exploration of how far someone will go for vengeance.

  • Tuesday, November 5, 7:30 pm –(Member: $18 / Community: $25)

JODI KANTORShe Said

In Conversation with Kim Severson, Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Times Bureau Chief, Atlanta

From Jodi Kantor, one of the two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, comes the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement.

Within days after their initial Weinstein story was published in the New York Times, a veritable Pandora’s box of sexual harassment and abuse claims was opened. Women all over the world came forward with their own traumatic stories about the prominent Hollywood producer. She Said tells a thrilling story about the power of truth, with shocking new information from hidden sources. Kantor and Twohey describe the consequences reporting for the #MeToo movement and journeys of the women who spoke up—for the sake of other women, for future generations, and for themselves.

  • Wednesday, November 6, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

In Conversation with Gail Evans, Former EVP, CNN; Bestselling Author

One Program, Two Authors

On a late summer day in 2006, Perry Brickman and his wife attended an exhibit on the history of Jewish life at Emory University and were astonished to come face-to-face with documents suggesting Brickman and many others failed out of Emory’s dental school because they were Jewish. They embarked on a path to uncover the truth.

Despite resistance, Brickman was determined to continue extracting evidence hidden in archives. After five years of identifying, interviewing, and recording the victims, Brickman was finally permitted to present his documentary to Emory officials and ask for redemption for the stain they had made. As a result, he was presented with the Emory University Maker of History Award for his journalistic excellence in exposing a long history of anti-Semitism in the Emory University dental school.

  • SHERRY FRANKA Passion to Serve: Memoirs of a Jewish Activist

Sherry Frank’s fascinating memoir relates the compelling stories from her more than 50 years as a community   activist and Jewish board member in Atlanta. The former Southeastern Area Director for the American Jewish Committee has partnered with some of Atlanta’s most influential politicians and city leaders to build bridges of understanding across race and religion. She has been involved in combating all forms of discrimination, preserving Atlanta’s Jewish history, and building support for Israel. Here, she shares her own spiritual journey and expression of her proud Jewish identity. Through it all, she has been an active feminist and a champion for civil and human rights and equality for all. This is her story.

  • Wednesday, November 6, 7:30 pm – (Member: $18 / Community: $25)

PAT MITCHELLBecoming a Dangerous Woman

Raised on a cotton farm in small town, Georgia with no money or connections, Pat Mitchell grew to become a consummate media game-changer. She was the first female president of PBS and of CNN productions and a visionary, award-winning TV and film producer, fully engaged on the front lines of cultural change. What makes Mitchell dangerous is her lifelong insistence on redefining power on her terms, and in leveraging that power to manifest a better world.

In Becoming a Dangerous Woman, she shares her unprecedented rise in media and global affairs. Mitchell takes us on a lively journey, sharing intimate anecdotes about navigating the power paradigms of Washington, DC and Hollywood, traveling to war zones, pressing Fidel Castro to make a historic admission about the Cold War, and matching wits with Ted Turner. E

  • Thursday, November 7, 10:00 am – (Free and Open to the Community)

One Program, Two Authors

In Conversation with Rabbi Brian Glusman, MJCCA

When Lynn Garson’s marriage ended in divorce, she refused to give up on love, romance, and “happily ever after.” Her quest to find Mr. Right led her from blind dates to dating apps, from drinks at the Buckhead Ritz Carlton to finding silverfish in a boyfriend’s guest bed (she has the video evidence to prove it). Lynn recounts her experiences in the modern dating scene with honesty and humor. Through the ups and downs of her dating adventures, she never loses her manners, her wit, or her optimism. For anyone who’s ever been on a bad date but still believes in true love, you’ll find a kindred spirit in Lynn Garson. Her hilarious memoir is what happens when Sex and the City meets Grace and Frankie!

Loving Out Loud (LOL) is a little book with a big message: you have the power to make a positive impact on someone’s day, every day, and it isn’t nearly as hard as you think. Robyn Spizman, an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and veteran media personality, has spent her career finding ways to make others happy with gifts and actions. Observing how the smallest compliment or remark of appreciation can transform an awkward moment into one of connection and joy, she set out to let others know we are paying attention, we care, and we appreciate them. With LOL snapshots and LOL daily suggestions in numerous categories, Loving Out Loud is poised to inspire a movement toward a kinder, more engaged community.

  • Thursday, November 7, 12:30 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program, Two Authors

Although many books and literary analyses have been written about Anne Frank’s life and diary, none have explored the surprising global influence her story had on shaping the moral framework of young people. In this fascinating study, Gillian Walnes Perry explores the various legacies of Anne Frank’s influence, which was sparked by the Amsterdam Ann Frank House’s traveling exhibition, viewed by more than 9 million people. Global icons such as Nelson Mandela and Audrey Hepburn modeled the influence that Anne Frank had on shaping their own lives. Walnes Perry shares new insights into the real Anne Frank, from those who actually knew her.

Meg Waite Clayton conjures her best novel yet with a pre-World War II story centering on the Kindertransports that carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe and one brave woman who helped them escape. In 1936, the Nazis are loud, brutish bores to 15-year-old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and his best friend, Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis take control. There is hope when a member of the Dutch resistance risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after Hitler’s annexation of Austria, when European countries closed their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.

  • Thursday, November 7, 6:30 pm – (Free and open to all)

Kristallnacht Commemoration at the Besser Memorial Holocaust Garden

The program features Guest Speaker Gillian Walnes Perry, Co-Founder and Honorary Vice President, Anne Frank Trust UK. Please join Marlene and Abe Besser and Rabbi Brian Glusman at the Besser Holocaust Memorial Garden as we light the torches and pay tribute to those who lost their lives during one of the most horrific nights in Jewish history.

  • Thursday, November 7, 7:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

One Program, Two Authors

In Conversation with Dr. Catherine M. Lewis, Professor of History, Kennesaw State University

In early 1939, 15-year-old Renia Spiegel wrote the first entry in her diary. Like Anne Frank, Renia’s diary became a record of her daily life as the Nazis spread throughout Europe. With poignant and thoughtful poetry, she writes of her mundane school life in Poland, daily drama with friends, falling in love with her boyfriend Zygmund, and the agony of missing her mother, separated by bombs and invading armies. When Renia was sent to the ghetto, Zygmund is able to smuggle her out to hide with his parents. The diary ends in July 1942, with an entry by Zygmund after Renia is murdered by the Gestapo. Renia’s Diary includes a preface, afterword, and notes by her surviving sister, Elizabeth Bellak. With this extraordinary historical document, Renia Spiegel survives through the beauty of her words and the efforts of those who loved her and preserved her legacy.

Berlin, 1942. The Gestapo arrested Bert Lewyn (Bev’s father-in-law) and his parents, sending the latter to their deaths and Bert to work in a factory making guns for the Nazi war effort. Bert goes underground and finds shelter with compassionate civilians, people who find his skills useful, and in cellars of bombed-out buildings. Without proper identity papers, he survives as a hunted Jew in the flames and terror of Nazi Berlin in part by successfully mimicking non-Jews, even masquerading as an SS officer. But the Gestapo are hot on his trail. Before World War II, 160,000 Jews lived in Berlin. By 1945, only 3,000 remained alive. Bert was one of the few, and his thrilling memoir offers an unparalleled depiction of the life of a runaway Jew caught in the heart of the Nazi empire.

  • Friday, November 8, 12:00 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

TZIPORAH SALAMONThe Art of Dressing

A designer, raconteur, author, model, and legendary New York style icon-about-town, Tziporah (Tzippy) has been the favorite subject of acclaimed photographers and artists. Tzippy has spent a lifetime collecting remarkable clothes, hats, and accessories, assembling them into outfits she shares with the world from the seat of the shiny bike she rides all over Manhattan. In her award-winning one-woman stage show, Tzippy tells the remarkable story of her parents, Hungarian Jews who survived the Holocaust and fled to Israel, then New York. The performance showcases her legendary wardrobe of rare vintage and designer clothes that helped Tzippy find her way into many aspects of the fashion and style industries.er copy of the book.)

  • Saturday, November 9, 8:00 pm – (Member/Community: $36, Includes one hardcover copy of the book.)

PREET BHARARADoing Justice

In Conversation with Bill Nigut, Executive Producer, Political Rewind, Georgia Public Broadcasting

Former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, gives an important overview of the way our justice system works, and why the rule of law is essential to our society in his book, Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law. Using case histories and personal experiences, Bharara shows the thought process required to best achieve truth and justice in our society. Bharara uses anecdotes to illustrate the realities of the legal system, and the consequences of both action and inaction.

  • Sunday, November 10, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

CHRIS EDMONDSNo Surrender

In No Surrender, Chris Edmonds tells the unforgettable and inspiring story of his father, Roddie Edmonds, a humble American soldier from Tennessee. Captured during the Battle of the Bulge in the waning days of WWII, Roddie became the highest-ranking American soldier at a Nazi POW camp.

Faced with an order to have the camp’s Jewish prisoners present themselves at a morning roll-call, Roddie instead ordered every one of the 1,292 prisoners to form up in front of their barracks. “We are all Jews here,” he told the German major, who responded by pressing the barrel of his Luger to Roddie’s forehead, threatening to shoot him on the spot. The officer backed down when Roddie warned him, “You’ll have to shoot all of us.” More than 70 years later, this act of courage earned him Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations from the State of Israel, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Congressional Gold Medal.

  • Sunday, November 10, 3:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

ALICE HOFFMANThe World That We Knew: A Novel

In Conversation with Greg Changnon, Playwright and Former Columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Announcing New Museum Director of Center for Puppetry Arts, Sarah Dylla

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sarah dylla

The Center for Puppetry Arts proudly welcomes Sarah Dylla as the new Museum Director. Sarah joins the Center for Puppetry Arts with over 11 years in the field of public humanities creating narratives about how history and the humanities intersect. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Sarah to the Center of Puppetry Arts, and her expertise in bridging education, historical research and the creative arts will enable the Center to design a rich diversity of experiences for our audiences in Atlanta and nationally during these unprecedented times,” said Executive Director, Beth Schiavo. 

Through her work and research in the public history field, Sarah Dylla aims to bring the history of puppets and puppetry to life for new audiences and shed light on lesser-known stories. Most recently, Sarah served as the Curator for the Atlanta History Center’s current exhibition about the history and impact of the 1996 Olympic and Paralympic Games, now on view at the Atlanta History Center.  Prior to moving to Atlanta, Sarah held positions in the special collections libraries at Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University, the Savannah Music Festival, and Virgin Islands National Park. Sarah holds degrees from the University of Virginia (B.A., Art and Art History, ’09) and Brown University (M.A., Public Humanities, ’16).

“We want our content to be as interactive and animated as the topic. Museums are places of fun, experimentation, and learning. Our goal is to bring in rotating content so visitors have new experiences every time they visit the Center. Whether it’s a new exhibit, new web-based content, or another innovative way to connect theatre and education, puppetry offers an opportunity to enhance the ability to be experimental, creative, and imaginative” said Dylla.

Source: Center for Puppetry Arts press release

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Georgia State Park 2021 Travel Guide and Passes Available

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Photo from Ga State Park site

One silver lining from 2020 has been discovering the joy of outdoor adventures. Parks all across the country welcomed record numbers of visitors looking for fresh air, peaceful scenery and heart-pumping exercise. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to start daydreaming about future getaways. The newly published “2021 Guide to Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites” is a helpful resource for planning spring break, romantic retreats and summer vacations. The booklet is filled with tips on the best hiking trails, fishing spots, pet travel, golf courses, cabins and campsites, as well as many new photos shared by park users.

Frequent visitors may also want to purchase new 2021 passes. A $50 Annual ParkPass provides free parking at more than 40 destinations, including Fort Yargo, Tallulah Gorge and Providence Canyon. The separate Historic Site Pass covers admission fees at 15 sites, including Etowah Indian Mounds, Dahlonega Gold Museum and Fort King George. The Historic Site Pass is $25 for students and $50 for families.

“One advantage of having an annual ParkPass or Historic Site Pass is that it encourages people to explore parks and historic sites they’ve never been to before,” said Georgia State Parks Director Jeff Cown. “Your parking and admission fees are already covered for the whole year, and you may even find a new favorite campground, historic site museum or hiking trail.”

The 2021 Travel Guide is available free in park offices or can be viewed on GaStateParks.org. Passes may be purchased online, by calling 770-389-7286 or in park offices as well.

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High Museum of Art Presents  Major Julie Mehretu Exhibition

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Photo courtesy of the High Museum of Art.

This fall, the High Museum of Art presents Julie Mehretu (Oct. 24, 2020-Jan. 31, 2021), a major traveling exhibition of work by Julie Mehretu (born 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art. This is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s career, covering more than two decades of her work, from 1996 to the present, and uniting nearly 40 drawings and prints and 35 paintings predominantly monumental in size and scale.

Mehretu’s work bears witness to the shaping of human consciousness through the combination and reconfiguration of sources and images that address history and its intersection with the present. Her process involves compiling a vast and diverse archive of sources, including diagrams and maps, cave markings, Chinese calligraphy, architectural renderings, graffiti, photojournalism and texts. The exhibition also reveals the centrality of drawing in Mehretu’s artistic practice, from her diminutive drawings made in the 1990s to her monumental paintings of the 2000s, and explores the abiding influences of indexing, diagramming, and mapping as well as their techniques, aesthetics and ideologies.

Mehretu’s work of the past decade draws from present-day images of natural disasters, human rights atrocities and global conflicts. Her most recent work in the exhibition refers to the detention camps holding migrant children along the southern border of the United States and is often scaled to the size and reach of her body. This correspondence between the artist’s body and her distinctly physical application of paint (and erasure of objective imagery), in combination with fragmented images produced in drawing, printmaking and stenciling techniques, lend the recent work a palpable sense of urgency and poignancy.

A highlight of the exhibition is Mehretu’s cycle of four monumentally scaled paintings titled “Mogamma (A Painting in Four Parts)” (2012). Reunited for the first time since they were last shown together in 2013, “Mogamma” interrogates themes of migration, revolution, global capitalism and technology at the dawn of the Arab Spring. Each painting in the cycle belongs to four different museums across three continents. The High Museum of Art acquired “Mogamma (Part 2)” in 2013.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to present this sweeping examination of Mehretu’s dynamic, multi-faceted career,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “The globally conscience themes in her work align strongly with our commitment to celebrating diverse perspectives through the High’s collection and exhibition program. We look forward to offering our audiences a chance to experience a broad spectrum of her creative genius.”  

“Julie Mehretu is one of the most consequential artists in the first quarter of this century,” said Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, “. . . because she has managed to synthesize histories told and untold, and history in the making, with our present moment beset by dislocation and turmoil. Among the histories with which she contends is the history of visual culture, particularly the language of abstraction, which powerfully expresses the fragmentation, splintering, formation, and reformation of our present moment.”

“Julie Mehretu” considers the artist’s excavation of the histories of art, architecture, and past civilizations and addresses themes in her work such as migration, revolution, human rights, social justice, climate change and global capitalism. Additionally, the exhibition considers Mehretu’s career in printmaking through a selection of works produced with such techniques as etching, photogravure, aquatint and engraving. In its combination of media, the exhibition draws attention to the artist’s agility in radically shifting scale, moving from the intimate to the grand and from the personal to the universal. The exhibition will also include British artist Tacita Dean’s 2011 filmic portrait of Mehretu titled “GDGDA.”

Previously on view at LACMA (Nov. 3, 2019-Sept. 7, 2020), the exhibition will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art (March 19-Aug. 8, 2021) and the Walker Art Center (Oct. 16, 2021-March 6, 2022) following its presentation at the High.

In early works such as “Untitled (two)” (1996), “Map Paint (white)” (1996) and “Untitled (yellow with ellipses)” (1998), Mehretu explores how to represent the cumulative effect of time by layering materials. In these paintings, she has embedded drawings between layers of poured paint, creating fossilized topographies.

In “Stadia II” (2004) and “Black City” (2007), Mehretu interrogates sports and military typologies to disrupt modern conceptions of leisure, labor and order. The coliseum, amphitheater and stadium in “Stadia II” represent spaces designed to accommodate and organize large numbers of people but that also contain an undercurrent of chaos and violence. While “Stadia II” is filled with curved lines and an array of pageantry such as flags, banners, lights and seating, “Black City” is more linear and contains references to the military and war, including general stars and Nazi bunkers. Both works call attention to the ways in which modern culture and the spectacle of contemporary wars, such as the War on Terror and the Iraq War, are connected to imperialism, patriarchy and power.

The four-part “Mogamma” (2012) took significant inspiration from the 2011 Egyptian revolution, part of the Arab Spring of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. The work was named after a government administrative building on Tahrir Square that was seen as a symbol of modernism and the country’s liberation from colonial occupation when it was first built in 1949. It was later associated with government corruption and bureaucracy before eventually serving as a revolutionary site. Mehretu began work on the four vertical canvases by exploring the densely layered environment of Tahrir Square, where an array of architectures — including structures built in Islamic, European and Cold War styles — coexist. She then created a web of drawings that combined the Brutalist architectural style of the Mogamma with details from other public squares associated with the revolutionary fervor of the Arab Spring, such as the amphitheater stairs and spiraling lights of Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the midcentury high-rise buildings surrounding Zuccotti Park in New York. Over this, she layered drawings of global sites of public protest and change, such as Red Square in Moscow and Tiananmen Square in Beijing. “Mogamma” was installed in Documenta in 2012 and again in London in 2013. This exhibition reunites all four panels of the monumental painting and marks the first time the work has been shown in its entirety in the United States. Before traveling with the exhibition, “Part 2” had been on view at the High since the Museum acquired it in 2013.

Mehretu’s most recent paintings introduce bold gestural marks and employ a dynamic range of techniques such as airbrushing and screenprinting. The works draw on her archive of images of global horrors, crises, protests and abuses of power, which she digitally blurs, crops and rescales. She uses this source material as the foundation for her paintings, overlaying the images with calligraphic strokes and loose drawings. For example, “Conjured Parts (eye), Ferguson” (2016) links disembodied anatomy with a site of violence and political strife. The painting began with a blurred photograph of an unarmed man with his hands up facing a group of police officers in riot gear, which was taken during the protests following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Mehretu layered color over a blurry, sanded black-and-gray background; fuchsia and peachy-pink areas rise from below while toxic green tones float above like distant skies drawing near. Outlines of eyes, buttocks and other body parts appear within the graffiti-like marks and black blots hovering over smoky areas, suggesting human activity obscured.

In “Hineni (E. 3:4)” (2018), Mehretu addresses the fires caused by climate change and the intentional burning of Rohingya homes in Myanmar as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing. The painting is based on an image from the 2017 Northern California wildfires, while the word “hineni” in the title translates to “here I am” in Hebrew, which was the biblical prophet Moses’s response to Yahweh (God), who called his name from within the burning bush. By interrogating three types of fires in this painting — one environmental, one intentional and one prophetic — Mehretu explores the contradictory meanings of a single elemental force.  

Installed alongside these recent paintings, “Epigraph, Damascus” (2016) is a notable achievement in printmaking for Mehretu, representing a new integration of architectural drawings and painting overlaid with an unprecedented array of marks. Working closely with master printer Niels Borch Jensen, Mehretu used photogravure, a 19th-century technique that fuses photography with etching. She built the foundation of the print on a blurred photograph layered with hand-drawn images of buildings in Damascus, Syria, then composited that with a layer of gestural marks made on large sheets of Mylar. On a second plate, she executed her characteristic variety of light-handed brushstrokes, innovatively using techniques known as aquatint and open bite.  

Many of Mehretu’s large-scale works will be on view throughout the galleries. The artist is known to create large horizontal canvases full of layered drawings to work out complexities of scale, size, detail and expanse. These panoramas often take on monolithic or compressed themes and histories such as African liberation movements and the architecture of spectacle.

The exhibition will also feature “Transcending: The New International” (2003). The painting began with a map of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, which Mehretu fused with maps of every African economic and political capital, creating a vast network of aerial views of the continent. In subsequent layers, she included drawings of both colonialist architecture in Africa and iconic modernist buildings erected there during and after liberation. In the center of the painting, she layered drawings of the many African plazas of independence with idiosyncratic markings she has called “characters.” Here, these characters stage battles, migrate, form alliances, congregate and ultimately participate in a system of entropy.

“Julie Mehretu” will be on view in the Cousins Special Exhibition Galleries on the Second Level of the High’s Wieland Pavilion.

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