Virgil Marti web

Virgil Marti / MATRIX 167 / Ode to a Hippie
August 1, 2013 – January 5, 2014

The seemingly disconnected spirits of English Romantic poet John Keats (1795–1821) and American anti-establishment artist Paul Thek (1933–1988) unite in Virgil Marti’s Ode to a Hippie. An homage to Thek, Marti’s inspiration lies in a nineteenth-century Keats Death Mask he discovered in the Wadsworth’s collection. The worn plaster cast conjured the image of Paul Thek’s sculptural self-portrait effigy, the centerpiece of his most significant work The Tomb (1967), also known as Death of a Hippie.

With the addition of a Keats Life Mask, Marti’s site-specific installation explores life and death through an inventive evocation of an English garden with shrines, a faux natural setting embellished with “hippie-craft” elements including stained glass, macramé, airbrushed paint, and velvet fabric. Marti regularly combines seemingly incongruous subjects and objects in elegant and witty arrangements, revealing surprising affinities. Through the spirits of Keats and Thek, Marti’s Ode to a Hippie explores the lingering romantic notions of tragic artistic geniuses.

View the exhibition brochure here.

The Making of MATRIX 167

Go behind the scenes with artist Virgil Marti as he produces new work for Ode to a Hippie. Visit his studio and the Philadelphia-based foundry, Independent Casting, for a glimpse into the making of MATRIX 167.

Produced by Greenhouse Media.
Supported by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.


See all of the MATRIX exhibitions.

From Our Collection

1860, Casilear 1843, Cole 1730, Largilliere Albers, 1957

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