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Relics of Paul Thek

Paul Thek pthekmixed1 Untitled, 1968

Paul Thek, who died of AIDS in 1988, first gained notice with his Technological Reliquaries (1964-67), yellow-tinted Plexiglas boxes that contained realistic wax replicas of human tissue, hair, teeth and bone. Influenced in part by Thek’s complicated attachment to his Catholic faith, these visceral sculptures were later echoed by the more esthetically detached work of Robert Gober, Damien Hirst and Matthew Barney.(Via)

Paul Thek thek-portrait by Peter Hujar
Susan Sontag dedicated her classic book “Against Interpretation” to Paul Thek. (1966)

1959-62 Thek lives in New York. He supports himself by designing textiles at Prince Studios. He meets the writer Susan Sontag. They become close friends. (via)

Chalice ptchalice from Paul Thek Project
What is PT Project?

This site is dedicated to the installation work of Paul Thek. It is an ongoing project to collect and contextualize documentary photography and other relevant sources around Paul Thek’s environments

Shortcut to a labyrinth of PT’s mind
Objects include – boat <> <> bridge <> <> candle <> <> pyramid

Paul Thek pthekm
La Corazza di Michelangelo, 1963

Paul Thek at Rove TV includes many paintings.

Paul Thek Worship Zone by Dennis Cooper. (All you need to know about Paul Thek is here).

Should the artist be a man of the word? Paul Thek came up in the ’50s and ’60s, when it was hard to answer “no,” when “avant-garde artist” became a profession, an idea that repulsed him. Wrestling with this question in 1979, Thek wrote to a priest, “I am OK, still trying to be ‘an artist’ in the secular world . . . as you know, the world is the world, very ‘worldly,’ etc., etc.” He longed for recognition, but had little respect for posturing or artistic orthodoxies, retreating to Europe – and even, late in his life, to a monastery – for long periods.

Thanks to Hal Lam for reminding me about Paul Thek.

Update: Paul Thek & Peter Hujar Peterpaul
(Paul Thek’s Retrospective at the Whitney Museum + a show at Alexander & Bonin – Oct 2010)

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