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Paul Thek – If you don’t like this book you don’t like me


The Modern Institute, April 20th-June 2nd 2012
3 stars
‘I will now call to mind our past foulness and the carnal corruptions 
of my soul’ goes one missive culled from the now opened pages of almost 
a hundred  notebooks left behind by the Brooklyn-born painter and 
sculptor, which came to light following his death in 1988. Given the 
sculptures and installations that formed the body of much of his work 
 from the 1960s Technological Reliquaries series onwards, where one 
might expect blueprints for the environments shown at this year’s Thek
retrospective at the Whitney in New York, one is hit instead with 
something infinitely more personal.

Such a panoply of ripped-up autobiographical scraps and pencilled-in 
dreamscapes lays bare a candid close-up into one man's self-reflexive, 
self-absorbed but self-aware quest towards a higher state of being. 
Thek's ruminations on art, sex and spirituality are Me-Generation 
pre-cursors to a similarly confessional Zine and blog culture that 
followed. The works beyond this are big-bang stream-of consciousness 
splodges of colour, finished products borne of a self-analysis 
subsequently captured in the notebooks for precious posterity.

The List, May 2012

ends

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