Paul Thek: An Experiment in Collective Art-Making


Thek, Paul. A Document made by Paul Thek and Edwin Klein. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1969.

Folio; illustrated throughout in black and white; pictorial wrappers backed with printed stiff wrappers; some light wear and age toning at extremities. Near Fine.


First edition. This publication, made by Paul Thek for his 1969 exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum (and later Stockholm’s Moderna Museet) is not so much a performance document as it is a kind of performance in book form. Newspaper clippings, performance photos, source materials, champagne bottles, lighting equipment, ashtrays, and other random objects (not to mention occasional glimpses of the hands and faces of the artists themselves) are spread out and piled up atop a full page spread of the International Herald Tribune and photographed from above creating a sequence of still lifes that builds up in incremental layers and ever-shifting arrangements as items are added, shifted or removed page after page. The book, like the exhibition it accompanied and so much of Thek’s work in this period, was undertaken as an experiment in collective art-making. Wim Davits, Edwin Klein, Tom Lenders, Max Natkiet, Jean-Paul Vroom, and others all participated in its creation.