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Detroit Institute of Arts Receives $50,000 Joyce Award for New Commission by Artist Julie Mehretu

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Joyce Foundation Awards program supports Midwest Cultural Institutions to Commission New Works by Artists of Color

DIA is one of two visual-arts recipients in this fourth round of annual grants


Detroit, Michigan, January 23, 2007 – The Detroit Institute of Arts has received a $50,000 grant from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation for a new, site-specific project by artist Julie Mehretu. The Joyce Awards support Midwest cultural institutions to commission new works by artists of color. The award will be announced this evening at the Chicago Arts Club.

“We are enormously pleased that the Joyce Foundation has recognized the DIA and Julie Mehretu with this prestigious award,” commented Graham W. J. Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts. “Julie Mehretu’s work has been recognized internationally for its brilliant evocations of time, history, and place. This suite of pieces will make Detroit and the DIA the focus of a significant new body of work by one of the leading artists of her generation, and will engage the museum, its history and its community in pressing contemporary issues.”

About the Artist
Julie Mehretu (b. 1970) has received international critical acclaim for her work and, in 2005, was named a MacArthur Fellow. Her complex drawings and multi-layered paintings depict public spaces – arcades, stadiums, and airports – from around the world, in the form of abstracted, heroically scaled maps and architectural plans. Born in Ethiopia, raised in Michigan and educated in Senegal and the U.S., Mehretu’s global perspective has profoundly influenced her art. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the São Paulo and Istanbul international biennials. The artist lives and works in New York City.

About the DIA Project
The Joyce Award will support the fall 2007 exhibition Julie Mehretu: City Sitings. The artist’s work will be installed in the three galleries adjacent to Rivera Court, which houses Diego Rivera’s famous 1932 Detroit Industry murals, and will address themes in Rivera’s murals in the context of the museum’s Beaux-Arts interior and Detroit’s urban environment. Both artists engage social, political and economic issues relevant to the area. The grant also supports a partnership with Detroit Public Schools and Communities in Schools of Detroit, Inc., for a workshop led by the artist. Mehretu will be instrumental in the design of the work shop intended to connect students with their experience of Detroit through the model of Mehretu’s work and life experience. Julie Mehretu: City Sitings will tour to three other cities after its DIA debut.

This year’s other Joyce Awards recipients are: Wayne State University, Detroit, and its College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts for a sculpture commission by Tyree Guyton and new visual-arts program recognizing the artist’s contribution to Detroit on the 20th anniversary of the artist’s Heidelberg Project; the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, for a new work by playwright Jerome Hairston; the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, for a new piece for full orchestra by composer Gabriela Lena Frank; and the Joffrey Ballet and Luna Negra Dance Theater, both in Chicago, to support the joint commission of a new ballet by choreographer Pedro Ruiz.

About the Detroit Institute of Arts
Located in the heart of Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Detroit Institute of Arts was founded in 1885 and is recognized as one of the country’s premier art museums. The museum’s approximately 60,000 works of art comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from prehistory through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera’s world-renowned Detroit Industry murals, the DIA’s collection reveals the scope and depth of human experience, imagination, and emotion. The DIA is nearing the final phase a four-year, institution-wide initiative to restore and renovate its building and its Detroit Film Theatre Auditorium, expand its gallery spaces, and reinstall its collections.

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Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is a donation. We recommend $6 for adults and $3 for children. DIA members are admitted free. Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.

Media Contacts  Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899 pmarcil@dia.org
                           Beth Zeder 212-671-5161 bzeder@resnicowschroeder.com