Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Paul Thek studied at the Art Students League, at the Pratt Institute and the Cooper Union. During a stay in Sicily and Rome with the photographer Peter Hujar in 1963, he was profoundly struck by the catacombs and by reliquiaries. Soon after, he began the series Technological Reliquaries (1964-1967), which combine anatomical waxes with industrial materials. Paul Thek was part of the underground scene around Andy Warhol’s Factory and the circle of Susan Sontag, and his work offers a critical response to minimalism and Pop Art. At the end of the 1960s, Thek moved to Europe, where he produced installations that combined art, literature, theatre and religion. He died of AIDS in 1988.
Today his work in exhibited in various collections, among them the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.