Artist Who Made Painting for Goldman Sachs Harbors No Ill Will Toward the Firm


The New Yorker has a profile of Julie Mehretu, one of the artists who was commissioned to paint a work for the lobby of the new Goldman Sachs building. It's surprising and enlightening in a number of ways — not only because apparently Calvin Tompkins was until then unaware of what "coming out" means ("For a ridiculous moment, I thought she was talking about a white-gown debut" — oh, dear) — but because Mehretu, a liberal artist, gives possibly the most simple yet articulate summation of the role Goldman Sachs has played in the financial crisis that we've heard from anyone.

Knowing what we now know about Goldman Sachs, I asked Mehretu, would she have taken on the commission? "Without hesitation," she replied. "I don't see it as an evil institution, but as part of the larger system we all participate in. We're all part of it."

Then again, they did pay her $5 million to make the painting, so maybe she's biased.

Big Art, Big Money [NYer]