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Sigmar Polke

Sigmar Polke, Untitled (detail), 1975, photographic emulsion, acrylic, and spray paint on canvas, 15 3/4 x 19 3/4". © The Estate of Sigmar Polke, Cologne/ARS, New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.


Museum of Modern Art, New York

April 19–August 3

Curated by Kathy Halbreich with Mark Godfrey and Lanka Tattersall

HAS ANY ARTIST OF THE LAST FIFTY YEARS more successfully combined relentless material innovation, slyly subtle wit, and voracious cultural rummaging than Sigmar Polke? From the laconic jokiness of his early Pop compositions to the cacophonous and often mutable surfaces of his later paintings—where resin, silver nitrate, iodine, chloride, beeswax, granulated meteorite, and pigment of violets, to list only a few of his materials, are deployed to brilliant effect—the German artist, who died in 2010, tested the bounds of imagemaking like few others of his generation. The targets of his intricately formulated pictorial investigations? Again, to name just a few: doughnuts, Lee Harvey Oswald, concentration-camp watchtowers, Playboy

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