June 15, 2010
R.I.P. Sigmar Polke
Upon returning from vacation, I learned the sad news that Sigmar Polke had died; he lost his battle with cancer last Friday. He was 69.
History has been good to Polke as his acceptance within the fine art canon found sustained impact at the end of the 20th Century. I teach his work yearly and I believe Polke's genius will continue to resonate as these younger artists discover him. In his memory, I reprint a paragraph from a 2006 post on "Art Practice of the 1960s":
But throughout the 1960’s it would be the German, Sigmar Polke, who would fully exploit and develop the idea of transgressive, codified citations of commodity culture. Often utilizing the “ben-day” dot pattern of industrial reproduction, he would then negate this commercial representation technique through his manual execution, in an ironic snubbing of Duchamp’s “detachment.” Even more brilliantly, he stretched “found” printed fabrics (bed-spreads and sheets) as his “canvas,” subversively juxtaposing the consumer codification structures with painterly gestures of Modernism.
Image: Bunnies (1966), synthetic polymer on linen, © Copyright by Sigmar Polke.