David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Herbert Ferber (1906–1991) and Mark Rothko (1903–1970), on view at the gallery’s 34 East 69th Street location in New York. This presentation will explore the decades-long artistic and personal dialogue between the two artists, focusing particularly on the Surrealist-inspired, biomorphic forms that they both employed in their work in the 1940s.
Ferber and Rothko were important members of the New York School, a loose conglomeration of American artists who pioneered Abstract Expressionism in the years following the Second World War. One of the leading Abstract Expressionist sculptors, Ferber first met Rothko in 1947, shortly after he joined the Betty Parsons Gallery, where Rothko was also showing at the time. Linked by shared beliefs in art and politics, the two quickly became close friends. Both artists professed an abiding interest in classical mythology and the unconscious and sought to explore archetypal and timeless forms in their work of this period. Speaking to these interests in 1947, Rothko characterized art as “an unknown adventure in an unknown space” that must provoke “a revelation, an unexpected and unprecedented resolution of an eternally familiar need.”