New York

Paul Thek

Brooks Jackson Gallery lolas

Paul Thek has always been a culturally responsive artist. His The Tomb—Death of a Hippie, 1967, was a sculptural roman à clef which summed up and buried the era which, for all its countercultural frisson, was more accurately characterized by Altamont than Woodstock. Thek’s narrative-realist stance—with its autobiographical content, architectural context, and ritual implications—also proved a significant compass reading for ’70s art. Following Death of a Hippie (the “Hippie” was, incidentally, a wax cast of Thek), the artist exiled himself to Europe where he began making transient assemblage sculpture. Given his alien status, the work was peculiarly correct in its improvisational energy. The capstone of the European period was Thek’s eloquent Ark, Pyramid constructed for Documenta 5 in 1972. The piece had a raw, decorative panache that looked like a collaboration between Clarence Schmidt

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