American painter and sculptor, born in Brooklyn, New York. His best-known work, now lost after suffering damage while on tour, was Death of a Hippie (1967). This was not the artist's choice of title (he preferred The Tomb). Cast from the artist's own body, the recumbent effigy with severed fingers was in an entirely pink environment and strewn with flowers. This work was an extension of Thek's interest in illusionistic casting; earlier works had consisted of wax models of meat in Minimalist boxes. However, it had a greater resonance as a product of the so-called ‘summer of love’, as a kind of lament for the inevitable demise of the drug-induced idealism of the young. How much Thek himself actually sympathized with the culture represented by the hippies is doubtful. His recorded views veer from a highly authoritarian leftism to a yearning for a return to the Catholicism in which he was brought up. Thek continued to make environments, although none had the same impact. He died of AIDS in New York.
http://www02.zkm.de/thek/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=37 Paul Thek biography.