A collection of works reflecting the influence of Italy on Paul Thek's artistic trajectory, with several contributions highlighting his Italian period.
Paul Thek's Italian experiences between 1962 and 1976 left a deep mark on his sensitivity. From his visits to the Capuchin Catacombs to his witnessing of spectacular religious processions, Italy was a catalyst for several key moments in the artist's career, triggering an elusive reaction in his practice to the trajectories of post-war American art. By reworking the stimuli gathered during his stays in Rome, on the island of Ponza and in Sicily, Paul Thek concocted a baroque response to Pop Art and Minimalism, which were dominant on the art scene of the time.
Paul Thek. Italian Hours
brings together a selection of paintings, drawings and sculptures through photographs by Peter Hujar
, presented in the exhibition of the same name at the Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio in Rome. The critical text by Peter Benson Miller, curator of the exhibition, highlights Thek's meaningful dialogue with a group of artists linked to gallery owner Topazia Alliata who were working in Italy at the time, including Cy Twombly
and Piero Manzoni. A conversation between Watermill Center curator Owen Laub and theatre director Robert Wilson completes the volume.
A recognized figure on the American art scene, Paul Thek (1933-1988) produced an astonishingly diverse body of work (drawings, sculptures, paintings, installations and environments) that is consistent with his image as an elusive artist, perpetually on the move. During his lifetime, Thek was exhibited by the most important New York galleries (Stable Gallery, Pace Gallery). His work was also presented at documenta 4
in Kassel (1968, 1972), the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1969), the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1971), and the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne (1973). He was supported in particular by Harald Szeemann
and Jean-Christophe Ammann
. In 1977, Suzanne Delehanty curated Processions
at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, marking the first solo exhibition of Paul Thek's work in an American institution. Following his death in 1988, his work was mainly shown in Europe. First in 1992, in Italy, with the Paul Thek
exhibition at Castello di Rivara. Then, in 1995, Paul Thek – The Wonderful World That Almost Was
opened in Rotterdam at the Witte de With and subsequently traveled to Berlin, Barcelona, Zurich and Marseille. In 2008, the ZKM in Karlsruhe programmed Paul Thek Artist's Artist
, which also explored how Thek's work has resonated in the contemporary scene. On the other side of the Atlantic, it wasn't until 2010 that the Whitney Museum in New York dedicated a remarkable retrospective to Thek, whose title, Paul Thek: Diver
, emphasized the artist's passion for the sea.
See also Valérie Da Costa:
Paul Thek en Italie
; May #66 – Paul Thek