Paul Thek

Paul Thek
New York, New York 1933
New York, New York 1988
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI
Luce Artist Biography

Paul Thek appreciated the beauty in all things, even those that might appear repulsive to others. In the early 1950s he studied at the Art Students League and the Pratt Institute in New York. He mostly did paintings and drawings until the mid-1960s, when he began making wax sculptures that looked like raw meat or human limbs. He drew inspiration from ancient crypts he saw in Sicily, where “bodies [were] used to decorate a room, like flowers.” Thek eventually abandoned his grotesque imagery and resumed drawing and painting. He also constructed room-size installations of sand, newspaper, and trees. The subject of Thek’s earlier “meat” sculptures and his preference for unstable materials later in his career reveal his lifelong concern with the passing of time and the vulnerability of human flesh.