Gaetano Pesce - Moss New York Monday, October 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    ‘Ogni Esemplare, Numerato E Firmato’, Domus, no. 530, January 1974, p. 48
    France Vanlaethem, Gaetano Pesce, London, 1989, pp . 57-60
    Gaetano Pesce, Le Temps des Questions, exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1996, p. 70
    Marisa Bartolucci and Raul Cabra, Gaetano Pesce, San Francisco, 2003, pp. 52-53

  • Catalogue Essay

    The great Italian artist, designer, poet, teacher, philosopher, alchemist, engineer, storyteller, prankster, troublemaker, and (I'm so proud to be able to say) friend, Gaetano Pesce, has had more influence on my thinking than anyone I have ever worked with. Having met in 1994, the year I opened Moss, Gaetano was generous in his support, allowing me to 'launch' his new chair, "Umbrella", in my very first Moss exhibition. We became friends. Over the next 18 years, Gaetano would typically call me and say something like 'I've made a lamp for you to sell at Moss. I'll bring it over now'. Coming from his 543 Broadway studio, he would arrive with work usually 'packaged' in a black plastic garbage bag. Every one of those 'visits' was, for me, Christmas. We then would occasionally go to the nearby little park area at the NYU Silver Towers apartment complex on Houston Street, and sit on a bench with our take-out coffees and talk about life, the state of the world, design, gossip, ambitions, projects, jokes – we laughed a lot.

    I love the work of Gaetano Pesce because it has a beautiful purpose that he achieves brilliantly each and every time: to tell a story that is important to hear. No one is a better storyteller through objects than Gaetano Pesce. And because of his enormous disdain for anti-humanistic, robotic systems which deaden the human spirit, such as most traditional 'mass production' methodologies, over the past 50 years he has single-handedly invented and consistently sustained what is now called Random Series Production, wherein, by definition of the process, the 'maker' is invited to infuse the production with his own choices. Obviously, the impact, over such a long and prolific career, of the political, sociological, economic, artistic, and cultural proposals embedded in even his simplest works is felt. And all of this is wrapped in a large Question Mark, his adapted 'family crest' - a symbol of the questioning that has informed his research over the last half century. I could not conceive of Moss, the Auction, without it including a work by Pesce. When I wrote to him, explaining my ambitious plan, and asking for his help and support, Gaetano responded as usual with love and generosity. He made a once-in-a-lifetime offer: his Golgatha table, one of two made in the early 1970's - a true masterpiece that he has held in his personal collection all of these years, never before shown in exhibition. I was invited to his Brooklyn facility to see it. It is overwhelmingly beautiful and heartbreakingly poignant - the first work with a religious reference he had ever made. "Look", he shouted at me, "it drips up". "What?" I shouted back. "The mortar - the blood - drips up!" he said again. Then I understood what he had done; Gaetano articulated the table – a personification of Christ’s crucifixion but also his Ascension – with the miracle of blood dripping upwards, toward Heaven. And then there is the matter of the enormous 'gash', or divide, down the middle of the table; when seated, one is a community divided. Golgotha, made by the artist when he was near Christ's age at the time of his crucifixion, is an allegorical architecture made of black, sin-filled individual bricks held together by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. It is not abstract Art; it is a functional table, a triumphant work of Design, with the age-old purpose of providing a gathering place for nourishment and civil discourse.



Monumental ‘Golgotha’ table

Wood, polyester resin.
29 1/2 x 151 1/2 x 39 1/2 in (74.9 x 384.8 x 100.3 cm)
Produced by Bracciodiferro, Italy.

$80,000 - 120,000 


16 October 2012
New York