Paul Thek (born 1933, Brooklyn, New York City; died 1988)


Sculptural installation with wooden shack, bathtub, globe, stuffed red bird.


A two-storey version Tatlin’s Monument houses a sculpture of a wooden shack (the eponymous Uncle Tom’s Cabin), inside of which is a bathtub, a globe, and a stuffed red bird. But as the title indicates, the reference is as much to The Tower of Babel (1679), an etching by Conraet Decker that appears as an illustration in Athanasius Kircher’s Turris Babel. Since Thek’s work is often concerned with the spiritual, this aggregate reference seems to be in keeping with other religious structures deployed in his installations (such as the pyramid, ark, and tomb), where it equally appears atop a bed of rippled sand punctuated with candles.

Installation views above from ICA Philadelphia, 1977.

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