Paul Thek

born New York City 1933-died New York City 1988
Media - portrait_image_113845.jpg - 90452
Photography by Peter Hujar, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, Peter Hujar Archive, LLC.
New York, New York, United States
New York, New York, United States

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.


Martha Rosler, Red Strip Kitchen
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965 – 1975
March 15, 2019August 18, 2019
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975 makes vivid an era in which artists endeavored to respond to the turbulent times and openly questioned issues central to American civic life.

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