ICONOCLASTS AND ICONS
Design Miami/ Basel | Booth G02
June 13 – 18, 2023
Gaetano Pesce [Italian, b. 1939]
Prototype no. 000-F for Moloch Floor Lamp, 1971
Anodized and painted aluminium, painted steel, wood
90.5 x 122.75 x 33.75 inches
229.9 x 311.8 x 86 cm
Stem impressed MOLOCH/RIDISEGNO DI GAETANO PESCE/PRODUZIONE BRACCIODIFERRO-/PRIMO CENTINAIO/ESEMPLARE
Private Collection, Genova
Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting (bronze version). Traveling exhibition:
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, Jun – Sept 2021;
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, Feb 27 – May 16, 2021
Gaetano Pesce: Age of Contaminations. Friedman Benda, New York, NY. Oct 24 – Dec 14, 2019. (bronze-anodized version)
Gaetano Pesce Il Tempo Della Diversita. MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, Italy. Jun 26 – Oct 5, 2014. (bronze-anodized version)
Bracciodiferro: Gaetano Pesce – Alessandro Mendini 1971-1975. Biblioteca Umanistica dell’Incoronata, Milan. Apr 4 – 14, 2013. (versions of Moloch lamp)
Pop Art Design. Barbican Art Gallery, London. Oct 22, 2012 – Feb 9, 2013. (black version)
Gaetano Pesce: Multi-Disciplinary Work. Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel. Opening Oct 24, 1991. (bronze version)
Gaetano Pesce, the Future is Perhaps Past. Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Jan 8 – Mar 9, 1975. (bronze, black, and aluminum version)
Italy: The New Domestic Landscape. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. May 26 – Sept 11, 1972. (bronze version)
“Moloch, A New Lamp,” Domus no. 514, September 1972, p. 38.
Emilio Ambasz, ed., Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, Achievements and Problems of Italian Design, exh. cat., New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1972, p. 97. (for a bronze version)
Gérald Gassiot-Talabot, Alessandro Mendini, etc., Gaetano Pesce: The future is perhaps past, exh. cat., Paris; FLorence: Centre Beaubourg – C.C.I.; Centro Di, 1974, n.p.
Rainer Krause and Günter Krawinkel, Provokationen: Design aus Italien, ein Mythos geht neue Wege, Hannover, Germany: Deutscher Werkbund Niedersachsen und Bremen, 1982, p. 111 (bronze-anodized version, 1972 campaign).
Giuliana Gramigna, 1950/1980 repertory: pictures and ideas regarding the history of Italian furniture, Milano: A. Mondadori, 1985, p. 357.
France Vanlaethem, Gaetano Pesce: Architecture, Design, Art, New York: Rizzoli, 1989, p. 28.
Gaetano Pesce: Multi-Disciplinary Work, exh. cat., Israel: Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Peter Joseph Gallery, 1991, n.p. (installation plan designed by Gaetano Pesce).
Gaetano Pesce, Gaetano Pesce: le Temps des Questions, Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1996, p. 25.
Andrea Branzi, Il Design italiano: 1964-1990, exh. cat., Milan: Electa, 1996, p. 121 (bronze-anodized version, 1972 campaign).
Marisa Bartolucci and Raul Cabra, Gaetano Pesce, San Francisco, 2003, p. 17.
Andrea Branzi and Silvana Annicchiarico, What is Italian Design? The Seven Obsessions, exh. cat., Milan: La Triennale di Milano Triennale Design Museum and Mondadori Electa spa, 2008, pp. 94-95 (bronze version).
Adam Lindemann, Collecting Design, Cologne: Taschen, 2010, p. 4.
Anty Pansera, Bracciodiferro: Gaetano Pesce – Alessandro Mendini 1971-1975, exh. cat., Milan, Italy: Biblioteca Umanistica dell’Incoronata, 2013, front cover, pp. 12 (black version), 31-32 (bronze-anodized version, 1972 campaign), 34-35 (interior of Cesare Cassina’s house), 70-77 (bronze-anodized version, N. 000-C), 78–79 (black version, N. 000-E), 80 (mirror polished version, N. 000-A), 81 (bronze version, N. 000-D), 82 (bronze version, N 002), 106.
Gianni Mercurio and Domitilla Dardi, Gaetano Pesce: Il tempo della diversità: Catalogo della mostra, exh. cat., Milan, Italy: Electa, 2014, pp. 238-239 (bronze-anodized version, 1972 campaign).
Sarah Schleuning and Cindi Strauss, Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting, exh. cat., New Haven: Yale University Press, 2021, pp. 17 (drawing dated 1971), 55. (bronze-anodized version)
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (black aluminum)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (bronze version)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (anodized aluminum)
Of the founding generation of radical designers, Gaetano Pesce’s influence remains unparalleled. By refusing to adhere to traditional boundaries between architecture, sculpture, and conceptual art, his cross-contamination between genres consequentially altered the landscape of design and was a catalyst for the establishment of the contemporary studio practice.
Born in 1939 in La Spezia, Italy, Pesce graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Venice in 1965. Contemporaneous to the investigations of the Italian Arte Povera movement, he inserted himself into serial production situations, attempting to humanize manufacturing through variation and expression for B&B Italia, Cassina and Bracciodiferro. His radical experimentation with industrial and everyday materials such as polyurethanes and poured resins broke the mold of standardization. Inventing techniques that would produce variable results that invited flaws and mistakes, Pesce refused to follow the modernist ideology of regularity and perfection dominant at the time.
His architectural projects include the Organic Building of Osaka in Japan (1990), a precursor to the ‘living wall,’ “in which the “co-existence of greenery, architecture, and human beings,” is the concept. Perhaps his best known project is the design for the advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day’s offices in New York (1994), a radical experimental layout that is considered the first mobile office.
Pesce has taught at several institutions including Cooper Union in New York, and the Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines in Strasbourg. His work is included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Montreal; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY and Museum of Modern Art, Turin. Pesce lives and works in New York, NY.