NARRATOR: Among Thek’s last paintings were these delicate images of butterflies. Like so much of his work, time and decay are built into the painting itself. The fragile newspaper ground has already yellowed with age. Thek’s close friends surrounded him in the hospital at his death, but very few in the art world came to see his last exhibition. Court documents related to Thek’s estate described him as a “relatively unknown artist.”
And yet, we can see the legacy of Thek’s work in the art of the next three decades. In part, this is because he explored the ways materials can have meaning. And in part, it’s because his art was not just in the galleries. It was also the way he lived his life and the person he washis choices, his affect, and the effect he had on the people and world around him. These practicesand the blurred boundaries between his art and his liferesonate deeply in contemporary art.
It is our hope that this exhibition will further restore Paul Thek’s place in the story of American art.
Thank you for joining us on this tour of Paul Thek: Diver. We wish to thank Ed Burns, Neil Jenney, and Ann Wilson.