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Mehretu at Goldman Sachs

For some reason everyone hates the unavoidable Julie Mehretu piece at Goldman Sach’s headquarters in Battery Park. The giant piece, at 23 x 80 feet, is an abstract and vibrant pattern of shapes and figures, some referencing capitalism and banking, in her signature layering technique. Called “Mural,” the is located behind the employee turnstyles of the lobby, but with the building’s giant glass walls, is largely visible from the outside.


So what’s the big deal? First, the obvious- Goldman Sachs’ now shady reputation and dealings, which essentially effect the other issues. The second is the piece’s hefty price tag- at $5 million. Third, some see the placement of the piece- in view of the public eye, but just far enough and private enough that only insiders can see the details- is seen as Goldman Sachs’ elitism. (might I remind you, it isn’t a piece of public art…)

Then of course there are just the people who simply do not like the piece.


As I write this, I can’t stop rolling my eyes. To me, art is art, and how it was funded or for how much really doesn’t make a difference. In 50 (or even 20 years) whoever and whatever takes residence at 200 West Street will not give a shit about Mehretu taking money from evil capitalists, but instead celebrate the fact that their building has a site specific work made by a MoMA celebrated, historically significant lesbian artist of mixed race.

Just get over it- unless of course you just think the piece is ugly, in which case, carry on with your opinion.

Who: Julie Mehretu

What: Mural

Where: 200 West Street, lobby

Images ©16 Miles of String

6 Responses to “Mehretu at Goldman Sachs”
  1. I’m not gonna hate on this Mehretu piece just because it was paid for by Goldman Sachs via @artnerdnewyork

  2. Max says:

    Yeah, don’t hate it because of who paid for it. Hate it because it’s ugly and because the artist wouldn’t be 1/10nth of as famous as she is if her oppression olympics score was not so high. It’s funny how every mention of this piece has to mention the artists sexuality and ethnicity – our egalitarian society at its finest.

  3. CEJNYC says:

    Think Mehretu’s Mural is gorgeous – dynamic and energetic. Matches the rhythm of this City & Goldman Sachs. LOVE the colors!! I’m grateful that Goldman Sachs had the foresight to commission such a powerful work of art. Given the PC politics that engulf (smother?) us today, I’m making the following disclosures: I am a female, hetero, art-loving lawyer, native Manhattanite, age 69. I do NOT work (& have never worked) for Goldman Sachs & my only connection to Ms. Mehretu is a deep and abiding love of her works – & the thrill I experience whenever I see anything by her in any museum. We are lucky to have Mural is NYC!!!

  4. CEJNYC says:

    Sorry about the typo!

  5. Matt says:

    Have you heard her talk about her art? Like her paintings, her statements are pretty decorative, but there’s a sense that she considers herself a commentator on political, racial, and capitalist violence. The underlying message: it’s bad. It is strange, then, that she would accept a commission from Goldman Sachs, a financial institution whose employees have ruined lives from coast to coast as recently as 2008. The money she received allowed her to “reflect” this history to the blithe automatons who work at GS, to the rich people who live downtown, and to the poor people who go to Shake Shack and to the movie theater across the street. I wonder if she thinks she is helping anyone with her commentary, perhaps the people who lost their homes in the midwest? When an artist has little integrity and less intelligence, how can you respect their art? In the end, however, it doesn’t matter, because her work is anodyne. My comment, like her work, amounts to a big, fat, “just sayin’.”

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