Gaetano Pesce. Pratt Chair (no. 3). 1984

Gaetano Pesce Pratt Chair (no. 3) 1984

  • Not on view

As was common until recently in Italy, Pesce was trained as both architect and industrial designer, and his work straddles the boundaries between those two disciplines and visual art. Known for his highly conceptual approach, Pesce uses design to investigate the ways we perceive the objects that surround us. Through his boldly colorful work, he strives to forge an emotional connection with the user.

The Pratt Project, produced for the Pratt Institute in New York, is a series of nine experimental chairs formed by hand–injecting urethane resin of increasing densities into molds. The first chair is so soft that it cannot support even its own weight, and it collapses in on itself; only the ninth chair is strong enough to support an adult. The third chair, shown here, stands precariously on its warped base, although it is strong enough to support the weight of a small child. The swirling pattern of brightly multicolored urethane is made possible by the injection–molding process; the variations in color emphasize the sinuous lines that result from the material’s deformation. In this project Pesce explores fully the material properties and possibilities of urethane resin; in doing so he also calls into question the nature, form, function, and permanence of the chair itself.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 60.
Urethane resin
34 x 21 1/2 x 24" (86.4 x 54.6 x 61 cm)
Tracy Gardner Purchase Fund and Rob Beyer Purchase Fund
Object number
© 2020 Gaetano Pesce
Architecture and Design

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archive[email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].