Gaetano Pesce Aspen Art Museum
My Dear Mountains, 2022
The Aspen Art Museum presents My Dear Mountains, a new two-part exhibition by Gaetano Pesce, one of the world’s most influential living multidisciplinary artists and creative minds, celebrated worldwide for his provocative and experimental pursuit of material, as well as his technological and social innovation. Driven by risk-taking curiosity and radical thinking, Pesce’s work is renowned for blurring boundaries between art, design, and architecture.
Supported by the Italian Council (9th Edition, 2020), a program of the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture to promote Italian contemporary art in the world, Gaetano Pesce’s new project features a display of furniture, drawings, and sculptures within the museum’s ground floor gallery, opening May 27, 2022, as well as a monumental site-specific installation covering the façade of the museum to be unveiled in the summer of 2022. This ambitious outdoor intervention on the building will be the artist’s first-ever project for a façade.
Pesce’s career spans over fifty years and nearly every medium, moving fluidly and playfully across categorical definitions of objecthood. Making a virtue of incoherence, over the years Pesce has remained independent from the sectors of mass-industrial production and commercial distribution, prioritizing his stance as an artist and intellectual. He is interested in introducing cultural values that foster diversity and plurality rather than pleasing market trends and demands. His designs stand out for their figurative and often organic qualities.
The first chapter of My Dear Mountains brings together a selection of furniture, sculptures, drawings, and objects spanning over fifty years of production and experimentation in different techniques and mediums—from the iconic Yeti armchair drawing (1968) to a new series of Leaf Cabinets (2022) realized specially for the Aspen Art Museum. Working primarily with polyurethane resin, Pesce’s designs exuberantly embrace figuration and color, challenging the physical properties of materials and valuing the aesthetic outcomes of imperfect gestures over rigorous standards. The artist plays with the unpredictable behavior of elements that can assume different densities and features. For example, in Tavolo Pezzi Feltro Table (2019) Pesce transfers the elasticity and softness of felt to a rigid, three-dimensional volume.
Breaking repetitive patterns of fabrication is at the heart of Pesce’s creative vision, as seen in his landmark body of work Nobody’s Perfect, first launched in 2002, which established the notion of “diversified series.” Objects cast from the same mold remain individually unique as aesthetic choices are entrusted to the aleatory combination of different shades and volumes of resin in the fabrication process, creating unrepeatable colors and textures each time. Three examples of the Nobody’s Perfect Chair are displayed as part of the exhibition, which also includes My Mountains (2022), a new series of unique flower vases created by Pesce for the Aspen Art Museum, inspired by the local natural landscape.
Pesce’s works seek to give form to what he calls “the liquidity of our time”—a time whose nature is defined by continuous change, curiosity, uncertainty, and innovation. These principles are reflected and find expression in the use of fluid materials that allow the artist to pursue objects that, in his words, are sincere and truthful to their epoch. Featured in the exhibition are examples of two-dimensional cast-resin reliefs that Pesce calls “industrial skins.” The painterly figuration of their subjects provides another outlet for the artist’s interest in communicating political, social, and personal narratives through his designs.
Born in La Spezia, Italy, in 1939, Gaetano Pesce studied Architecture at the University of Venice between 1958 to 1963 and was a participant in Gruppo N, an early collective concerned with programmed art patterned after the Bauhaus. He taught architecture at the Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines in Strasbourg, France for 28 years; Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh; Domus Academy in Milan; Polytechnic of Hong Kong; Architectural School of Sao Paulo; and the Cooper Union in New York City, where he has lived and worked since 1980. Pesce’s work can be found in the permanent collections of over 30 national and international museums including the Museum of Modern Art in both New York and San Francisco; Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Vitra Museum in Germany; Pompidou Center and Musee des Arts Décoratifs of Louvre in Paris; and Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His award-winning designs include the prestigious Chrysler Award for Innovation and Design in 1993, the Architektur and Wohnen Designer of the Year in 2006, and the Lawrence J. Israel Prize from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 2009. Gaetano Pesce is represented by Salon 94 Design.
My Dear Mountains is curated by Stella Bottai, Curator at Large, Aspen Art Museum and its organization is supported by Salon 94 Design.