ART: A Rare Look At The Art (And Life) Of Out Artist Paul Thek


Bisexual painter-sculptor Paul Thek is the subject of a new exhibition opening April 12 at New York’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art.

Thek (above, far right) became well-known for his sculptures and installations during the 1960s and 70s. The Brooklyn Rail described his works, on view in a 2010 Whitney retrospective:

“On one hand, Thek made a point of working with ephemeral materials like newspaper, wax, unfired clay, and vegetation, building delicate, site-specific installations that he abused and neglected until little remained but the taxidermied birds and severed fingers now on display. Yet, on the other hand, he built the airtight Plexiglas sculptures we see here, reliquaries where his body parts are displayed like sacred objects.”

“Paul Thek and His Circle” includes some of Thek’s early works from the 1950s, as well as personal photos and works done by those in his artistic circle, which included Tennessee Williams and Peter Harvey, who co-curated the show

Thek died in poverty of AIDS-related illness in 1988. Susan Sontag dedicated AIDS and Its Metaphors to his memory.

“Paul Thek and His Circle” is on view April 12 – July 7 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art.







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