Biography

Photo credit: Mickey Pallas

Photo credit: Mickey Pallas

Zeke Ziner,  Born, 1919 Bronx, NY – Died, 2006, Branford, Connecticut, 86 years. Perhaps best known for his stainless steel sculpture, Zeke Ziner’s drawing and printmaking played a large role in a long career of fine arts. He exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, The Library of Congress, The Hudson River Museum, The Arts Club of Chicago, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Los Angeles County Fair and the University of Connecticut.

Mr. Ziner taught at The Institute of Design, City University of N.Y., College of New Rochelle, S.U.N.Y., Purchase, The Hudson River Museum School and The Paier School of Art in Hamden, CT.

His work is represented in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University and innumerable private collections. In his lifetime, Mr. Ziner estimated that he produced over 5,000 works of art.

Mr. Ziner was a modern artist and designer with a love for traditional technique. He was also a innovative sculptor and printmaker whose contributions have added much to contemporary art. He was a productive artist for over sixty years.
In 1938, he shared an early predilection for graphic work with high school(DeWitt Clinton, Bronx, NY) classmates Bob Blackburn and Ted Shearer. He went on to study at the Art Student’s League with Yasuo Kuniyoshi and others. He traveled to Mexico for a year on an arts scholarship where he met Orozco.  He designed textiles for the André Proteau Co. before getting drafted in 1941. He married Florence Katz. He served with the U.S. Army Core of Engineers in Alaska and then two years in Europe.
At the end of the war, safe and sound, Zeke and Feenie moved to Chicago. Zeke taught drawing at the Illinois Institute of Design, painted, was friends to sculptors Marion Perkins, Si Gordon and Boris Gilbertson. He painted his house and filled it with his pictures. He worked with Goldsholl and Associates, through the 1950’s,  helping to transform the look of print and packaging to the modern age, designing among others, the enduring Motorola logo.
Mr. Ziner exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago in group and solo exhibits. Much of his fine art drawings, prints, sculpture and paintings of that time were sold privately, in a social context and became part of the culture of mid-century Chicago.  A brush drawing, Mother and Child was included in the exhibit, Recent Drawings USA. sponsored by The Museum of Modern Art in 1956. Also notably included in that exhibit were drawings by Josef Albers, Leonard Baskin, Misch Kohn, Leo Leonni, Rico Lebrun, oh and Andy Worhol!
He moved the family to Dobbs Ferry, NY in 1958, working as an art director for print and film into the 1960’s.  Becoming increasingly interested in making sculpture, by the early 1970’s he had trained in welding and equipped his shop, adopting stainless steel as a preferred medium.  The ink drawings played an important role in the process, allowing a give and take in finding solutions for such a resistant material. With relentless but cheerful filing, mostly, he would shape and blend his welds, “one piece”, he’d say. After polishing, the steel becomes the brightest thing in the room, picking up all available light. There is a futuristic quality to them which is further amplified when the possible longevity is considered. Truly they were made with a distant future in mind.
In 1984 Zeke had moved to Branford, CT and renovated an elementary school with studios for graphics and separate studio for metalwork where he was happily productive for over twenty years. Zeke Ziner worked with stainless steel until his 85th year.
About thirty of his sculptures and nearly 1000 works on paper comprise the Ziner Art Collection.
For further information you may reach archivist Joe Ziner at < info@zekeziner.com >