“It’s about extending painting,” Kerstin Brätsch has explained of what drives her work, “following the logic of my brushstroke but in a different language.” The brushstroke, that trace of the painter’s hand, is translated into a range of mediums in this installation, which continues in the foyer outside the café.

After researching pigments used in Italian Renaissance paintings, the artist developed the colors for the hand-painted tempera walls and channels of this space in collaboration with Italian decorative painters Valter Cipriani and Carolina d’Ayala Valva. The tempera sections are titled Ave Duccio, Ave Giotto, Ave Mantegna, Ave Piero, and Ave Pontormo (in reference to Duccio di Buoninsegna’s yellow, Giotto’s blue, Andrea Mantegna’s green, Piero della Francesca’s red, and Jacopo Pontormo’s pink). Brätsch also teamed up with Cipriani to make the 35 reliefs on the walls using the 17th-century Italian technique stucco-marmo, in which pigments are mixed with wet plaster and glue, then polished, to create the effect of marble or other stones. These vibrant works evoke not only brushstrokes but fossil-like fragments and creature-like portraits. Below the drink bar, a custom wallpaper, titled Towards an Alphabet_Dino Runes, integrates recurring elements in Brätsch’s work—dinosaur motifs, colored marbled stone, and cutouts—into the existing black marble. For the facade, Brätsch coated the glass in a transparent pink gel, titled Gaylen Gerber. Exhibition Scheme:Kerstin Brätsch: Pele’s Curse, 2015/2019 in reference to her previous use of this material in her exhibition Pele’s Curse at the Arts Club of Chicago in 2015.

Commissioned on the occasion of The Museum of Modern Art’s 2019 reopening, courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York. Organized by Yasmil Raymond, former Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, with Tara Keny, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

The artist wishes to thank Valter Cipriani, Carolina d’Ayala Valva, Kirsten Kilponen, and Daniel Chew.