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Join The Watermill Center in celebrating the work of the late Paul Thek in this intimate exhibition occupying our South Wing.

Paul Thek: Interior / Landscape is a reflection on the deeply personal explorations and influences of an often misunderstood artist whose work challenged conventional practices of making, and confronts the body and alienation, the sacred in nature, ecological fragility, and the possibility of transcendence.

Occupying two galleries within The Watermill Center’s main building, this exhibition features works and archival documents by the artist Paul Thek from the collections of Robert Wilson and The Watermill Center, which has since 2006 maintained an adjacent permanent exhibition of the late artist’s work. Central to this exhibition are artworks, primarily paintings, but also sculptures and works on paper, which suggests ways in which Thek’s landscape studies and renderings of the body are intricately connected.

This exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the AIDS crisis in New York; the syndrome which took Paul Thek’s life in 1988.

Please note: all attendees must be fully vaccinated, and present proof of vaccination during check-in. For a full list of COVID Safety Guidelines, click here.

The exhibition is organized by Noah Khoshbin and Owen Laub.


About The Artist

Paul Thek (1933-1988) was a sculptor, painter, and multimedia artist.

Paul Thek’s artistic practice ranged from the hermetic to the spectacular. Working collaboratively, Thek constructed expansive and surreal environmental installations, collectively reimagining museums as sites of transformation, and the life of exhibitions as cycles of birth, maturation, death, and renewal. In solitude, he cast elements of his body, figments of nature, or wax renderings of raw meat, and sealed them within plexiglass vaults which he called “technological reliquaries”. He created exuberant abstractions on newspaper and canvas, as well as sensitively rendered landscapes; the sublime within nature.

During his lifetime, Paul Thek was a frequent collaborator to Robert Wilson, a close companion to the photographer Peter Hujar, and to author Susan Sontag who dedicated her seminal volume of essays “Against Interpretation” to him. He created installations for the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Documenta V, Kassel, curated by Harald Szeeman. Thek died of AIDS in 1988.

In 2010-2011, a posthumous retrospective, DIVER, was exhibited at The Whitney Museum, New York, The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. A selection of his work is on permanent display at The Watermill Center.

Additional Information

All attendees must be fully vaccinated, and present proof of vaccination during check-in. Those unable to show proof of vaccination will be turned away. Unvaccinated children are unable to attend. Masks are required indoors.

Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow for the check-in process.

The Watermill Center is committed to providing accessible programs and services for all patrons and artists with disabilities. For further information about any accessibility issues or needs, please email us at [email protected].

photo copyright Martyna Szczesna