Untitled (Meat Pyramid)

  • Paul Thek, Untitled (Meat Pyramid), 1964, mixed media: plaster, glass, mirror, chrome and wax, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fredric B. Mueller, 1979.15.2

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This "meat" sculpture is one in a series of Technological Reliquaries that Paul Thek made in the mid-1960s. In the series the artist placed lifelike wax models of flesh in hard-edged clear cases. The glass structure, which keeps the viewer outside and imprisons the wax-flesh inside, echoes the way that machines have made personal contact less common in our fast-paced modern world. Thek hoped that the "raw flesh" would provoke people into "seeing more than they do." This work calls attention to the fragility of human life and reminds us of our need for spirituality and love.

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"I didn't make it to be beautiful or ugly, or bad or good. I just do it because I like it. It doesn't matter how the public reacts." Paul Thek, Time, June 13, 1969
Untitled (Meat Pyramid)
Not on view
18 1/4 x 18 1/4 x 12 3/4 in. (46.2 x 46.5 x 32.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Fredric B. Mueller

Mediums Description
mixed media: plaster, glass, mirror, chrome and wax
  • Abstract
Object Number
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