The work of American art icon Paul Thek will be shown at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City beginning on April 12.
The exhibit, titled “Paul Thek and his Circle in the 1950s” examines for the first time Thek as a young man, “placing him within a group of friends and lovers that provided an adoring audience and creative influence for his earliest works,” according to a press release.
The exhibit is co-curated by internationally renowned expert on gay art, Jonathan David Katz, and by set designer Peter Harvey, who had an early romantic relationship and life-long friendship with Thek.
The work included in the exhibit was created in the mid-1950s, when the Lavender Scare was underway and homosexuality was demonized in mainstream society.
“This exhibition argues that it was this early circle of friends and lovers that created the defining audience for their works, setting them on the path to become the artists they subsequently became,” notes the press release. “By extension, this exhibition argues for the enabling power of a culture of same sex desire for the development of Thek’s American art.”
Titles and credits:
01-Peter Hujar, Paul Thek, Nude, Astride Zebra, c. 1965, Vintage gelatin silver print, 17 x 14 in. Copyright 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
02-Unknown, Peter Hujar, White Shirt, Looking Right, n.d., Gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 in. Courtesy of The Peter Hujar Archive. LLC.
03-Paul Thek, Untitled (Portfolio Fashion Drawing), 1957-58, Pastel on onionskin paper, 24 x 18 in. Estate of George Paul Thek; Collection of Peter Harvey.
04-Wilbur Pippin, Paul Thek and Peter Harvey, NYC, 1956, Gelatin silver photo from original negative, 8 x 10 in. Collection of Peter Harvey.
05- Theodore Newman, Peter and Two Pauls in Rhode Island, 1957, Gelatin silver photo from original negative, 10.125 x 10.125 in. Collection of Peter Harvey.
06-Paul Thek, Portrait of Peter Hujar, c.1963, Oil on canvas, 51 x 51 in. Copyright The Estate of George Paul Thek; Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York.
07-Paul Thek, Peter Harvey, 1955, Digital enlargement, 13.5 x 8.875 in. Collection of Peter Harvey.
08-Paul Thek, Peter Harvey, Brick Archway, Key West, 1956, Digital enlargement, 6.375 x 9.75 in. Collection of Peter Harvey.
09-Theodore Newman, Paul Thek, Rhode Island, 1957, Digital enlargement, 20 x 20 in. Collection of Peter Harvey.
10-Paul Thek, Peter Hujar and Joe Raffael in the Deering Boat House Ruins, 1956, Digital enlargement, 10.75 x 10.75 in. Collection of Peter Harvey.
11-Unknown (possibly Joseph Raffael), Peter Hujar, in Woods, n.d., Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11.25 in. Copyright 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.