Paul Thek: Diver, a Retrospective is the first retrospective in the U.S. devoted to the legendary American artist Paul Thek (1933–1988). A sculptor, painter, and one of the earliest artists to create environments or installations, Thek was first recognized when he showed his sculpture in New York galleries in the 1960s. These early works, which he began making in 1964 and called “meat pieces,” resembled flesh and were encased in Plexiglas boxes that recall minimal sculptures. With his frequent use of highly perishable materials, Thek accepted the ephemeral nature of his works—and was aware, as writer Gary Indiana has noted, of “a sense of our own transience and that of everything around us.” With loans of work never before seen in the U.S., this exhibition is intended to introduce Thek to a broader American audience.
This exhibition was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
Paul Thek: Diver, A Retrospective is co-organized by Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Lynn Zelevansky, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
The Hammer Museum’s presentation is made possible by a major gift from Brenda R. Potter.
Generous support is also provided by the Kadima Foundation, Helen and Sam Zell, and Heika Burnison. Antique rugs courtesy Damoka Los Angeles.