Blog / Bill Thelen: Top Ten for 2010



By Wendy

We stopped by Lump gallery/projects in Raleigh recently to visit Bill Thelen. As usual, he delighted us with his unexpected take on the universe. He even unearthed his wonderful sculpture “Biscuit King” just for our amusement.

Bill is well traveled and he has a sharp eye. He generously offered up his Top Ten for 2010, exclusive to the Nasher Museum Blog:

  1. Paul Thek – Diver at the Whitney. Flawed in so many ways, but still knocked me out and left me breathless. I have been waiting years for this to come together.
  2. Berlin Biennale (what is waiting out there) – I know everyone panned it, but I was blown away. There was so much amazing video that I was worn out from being in the dark for so long. The George Kuchar room had over 100 hours of video alone! Highlights for me were Ron Tran, Pleurad Xhafa/Sokol Peci, Ferhat Ozgur, Armano Lulaj, Andrey Kuzkin among others I have never heard of before.
  3. Nothing Up My Sleeve – an exhibition based on the work of Stuart Sherman – catalog. I missed the show at Participant, curated by Jonathan Berger but am okay with it since the catalog is so fucking amazing. I love anything Lia Gangitano/Participant does.
  4. Hopscotch Music Festival – downtown Raleigh. Insightful and sensitive curation by the Independent and Grayson Currin. A huge well-cast net of musical delights at every corner.  I can’t wait for next year’s edition.
  5. Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward – by Justin Spring.  I could not put this book down.
  6. Bruce Nauman – Dream Passage. I have never been a fan of Bruce Nauman. It’s because I am stupid. Thanks to the excellent curation at Hamburg Bahnhof in Berlin I am now a believer. They placed seminal pieces by Nauman in context with other artists from the 60’s to the present. Not only an amazing retrospective, but also a history lesson.
  7. Neil Prewitt. Everywhere I look, there he is. New videos, Yuxtapongo, performance, playing live, helping others out, installation, curating… does this guy ever sleep? He’s making everyone look bad.
  8. Knight’s Move at NY Sculpture Center. I was underwhelmed at the Whitney Biennial and Greater New York. Just down the street from PS 1 was a less exhausting survey of contemporary sculpture curated by the always-interesting Fionn Meade.
  9. Elijah Burgher’s colored pencil drawings kept popping up everywhere. You can check them out at fingers crossed we can get him to do a project at Lump.
  10. Alec Soth – Broken Manual, Tacita Dean, Sol LeWitt, Yves Klein and Event Horizon at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Quite possibly one of the finest museums in the US.IMAGE: Paul Thek (1933-1988), Untitled (Hand with Ring), 1967. Wood, plaster, paint, and metal, 7 5/16 × 4 1/2 × 4 1/2 inches. Collection of Ed Burns; on long-term loan to the Watermill Center. Photograph by Gary Mamay. © The Estate of George Paul Thek; courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York.

Bill Thelen is an artist, educator and curator from Raleigh, N.C. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has been the owner and director of Lump gallery/projects in Raleigh since 1996.

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