Entropia (review)

Julie Mehretu (b. 1970) Entropia (review), 2004 Silkscreen and lithography on Arches 88 33 1/4 × 43 1/2 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee 2004.6.15

Julie Mehretu is known for her large-scale paintings that comment on the dynamic energy of the twenty-first-century city. The architectural diagram at the center of this image references the physical construction of the modern city, while layers of curving lines and blots of color carry the viewer’s eye across, over, and through the work. From a distance, the composition has an abstract and chaotic appearance—recalling the sense one gets viewing New York from a distance. However, upon closer examination, small areas of detail come to life, as if the viewer is walking through the intimate corners of a neighborhood.