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August 8th, 2005
Gaetano Pesce to be Subject of Design Installation at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Designer will be honored with Collab's Design Excellence Award

Known for his innovative designs incorporating non-standard production processes and the latest materials developed through new technology, Gaetano Pesce (b. 1939) will collaborate with the Philadelphia Museum of Art this fall in creating his first museum exhibition in the United States in nearly a decade. Gaetano Pesce: Pushing the Limits will be on view in the Museum’s Contemporary Design Galley (170) from November 18, 2005, to April 2006, and will feature some 20 examples of the designer's work. At the opening, sponsored by Collab: The Group for Modern and Contemporary Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pesce will be honored with Collab's Design Excellence Award.

Pesce's multidisciplinary work in design, visual art, architecture, and planning can be unpredictable – like his resin furniture "customized" in form and color according to the choices of the artisan and the chance flow of pigmented materials within the molds. Italian writer Gillo Dorfles has said that Pesce has "made the world a less conformist place" with his objects that pit the conflicting values and means of handicraft against those of industry.

"No designer has pushed material and technological experimentation further than Gaetano Pesce," says Kathryn Hiesinger, Curator of Decorative Arts after 1700. "From his famous UP series of polyurethane foam chairs in the late 1960s to his experiments with resin from the 1980s to the present, he has constantly explored the relationships between material and form in a unique and authentic body of work."

Born in La Spezia, Italy, in 1939, Pesce studied at the University of Venice Faculty of Architecture and the Institute of Industrial Design, also in Venice. He has worked in numerous countries, including Italy, Germany, Belgium, Japan, and the United States, where he has maintained a studio since 1980. In 1959, he was one of the founders in Padua of Group N, an association of artists and designers concerned with programmed, or “Op,” art. Pesce received his first important critical notice at the international furniture exhibition in Milan in 1969 when he introduced the UP series, although his work had been earlier included in shows in Finland and Italy. While Pesce has been particularly active as a furniture and interior designer, he has also found time for film making, lecturing worldwide, and teaching, most notably since 1975 at the Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies in Strasbourg, France, and at the Domus Academy in Milan.

The exhibition is supported by Collab. This non-profit organization founded in 1970 raises funds for the Philadelphia Museum of Art's modern and contemporary design collection, which now includes over 1000 works. The collection ranges from appliances and furniture to ceramics, glass, and lighting. Collab presents its prestigious annual Design Excellence Award to a design professional who has made a significant contribution to the field. Past honorees include Florence Knoll Bassett, Milton Glaser, Michael Graves, Jonathan Ive, Maya Lin, Ingo Maurer, Richard Meier, George Nakashima, Karim Rashid, Philippe Starck with Ian Schrager, and Robert Venturi. Collab also promotes public understanding and appreciation of contemporary design through its educational initiatives, including sponsorship of symposia, lectures, tours, and a citywide, college-level student design competition.

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