Modern Art, Sacred Space: Motherwell, Ferber and Gottlieb

In 1951, architect Percival Goodman charged three avant-garde artists with commissions to decorate his Congregation B'nai Israel synagogue in Millburn, New Jersey.

Art Exhibition previously on at The Jewish Museum in United States.
From Sunday 14 March 2010 to Sunday 01 August 2010

Published by anonymous on Wednesday 14 April 2010.
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Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb, and Herbert Ferber – each of whom went on to become a major figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement – created, respectively, a large-scale lobby mural, velvet Torah curtain, and a monumental exterior sculptural relief.

This exhibition marks the first time these works have been exhibited in a museum setting since they were created over sixty years ago.

Motherwell’s mural presents abstracted Biblical references such as Tablets of Moses (Ten Commandments), diaspora of the twelve tribes of Israel to the four corners of the world, and Ark of the Covenant. The mural, one of the largest paintings of its time, is one of the few works in which the artist worked in a semi-representational manner; however, Motherwell’s abstraction of the objects is in keeping with the bold style that he established in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Gottlieb’s iconographic design for the Torah curtain, now in the collection of The Jewish Museum, is a late example in the development of his influential pictograph paintings of 1941-53.

Ferber’s monumental exterior relief, entitled And the Bush Was Not Consumed, expresses a religious theme in an abstract three-dimensional form.

In addition to these major works, the exhibition will include studies, maquettes, and photographs, as well as an architectural model of the Goodman-designed synagogue, to highlight the creative process of this groundbreaking collaboration.