New York

Paul Thek

Pace Gallery

The Surrealizing sculptures of Paul Thek are among the most powerful and frightening of recent combine fabrications. While the artist would have us remain cooly neutral before these works (as he himself doubtless must be, else how could he have manufactured them?) this is something of a vain hope and practical impossibility for the viewer untrained in Thek’s special ascesis. The only training a viewer conceivably has in preparing for Thek’s work is occasional childhood visits to museums in which fearsome cross-section slabs of human beings were preserved in formaldehyde, compressed under glass plates and bound in steel frames. Then too there are those medical illustrations in books found at the doctor’s office.

The supermarket meat counter is also a kind of Thekian world, where chunks of butchered animals are attractively displayed in hygienic cellophane wrappings.

Thek concentrates on the

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