New York

Sigmar Polke

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

PERCHED NEAR THE EDGE of the Museum of Modern Art’s atrium throughout this past spring and summer, Sigmar Polke’s Kartoffelhaus (Potato House), 1967, echoed not only the diminutive German garden sheds and rigidly formed Minimalist objects in whose shadow the work was clearly made, but also—and more oddly—the very interior in which the piece itself was installed. For just like MoMA’s expansive exhibition-cum-dinner-party space, Polke’s construction—a five-sided, pitched-roofed wooden lattice held together by an elegant joinery of fresh potatoes—is an ode to right-angled precision and permeable volumetric enclosure, right down to its rhyming of the similarly scaled apertures (and picture grids visible through these) that surrounded it during the run of the museum’s recent retrospective “Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010.” Beyond the petit bourgeois pleasures and the stolid

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