León Ferrari. Untitled. 1964

León Ferrari Untitled 1964

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 404 The David Geffen Galleries

In the early 1960s Ferrari made gestural drip drawings with entangled line structures, and what he called “written paintings”—drawings as texts and texts as drawings. By working in these two styles, Ferrari questioned the distinction between art and language—and between graphic gesture and calligraphy, a stylized form of writing. Typically realized in an overflowing, ornate, and dramatic calligraphy, Ferrari’s written paintings feature sarcastic and politically loaded poems masterfully transcribed by the artist but deliberately rendered as illegible scrawls.

Gallery label from 2023
Ink on paper
18 5/8 x 12 1/4" (47.3 x 31.1 cm)
Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Mimi Haas
Object number
© 2023 León Ferrari
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

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Exhibition history

MoMA Exh. #2074: "Tangled Alphabets: León Ferrari and Mira Schendel", 6th Floor, The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art Gallery, April 5, 2009 - June 15, 2009
and tour: Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, November 24, 2009 - March 1, 2010, Porto Alegre, Fundacao Ibere Camargo, April 8 - July 11, 2010

MoMA Exh. #2152: "I Am Still Alive: Politics and Everyday Life in Contemporary Drawing", The Paul J. Sachs Drawings Galleries, March 23 - September 19, 2011

MoMA Exh. #2512: "2023: 4th Floor Collection" Gallery 404 (Calligraphic Abstraction), January 6, 2023 -


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