This retrospective is the first to encompass the unusually broad range of mediums German artist Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) worked in during his five-decade career, including painting, photography, film, sculpture, drawings, prints, television, performance, and stained glass. Polke eluded easy categorization by masquerading as many different artists—making cunning figurative paintings at one moment and abstract photographs the next. Highly attuned to the distinctions between appearance and reality, Polke elided conventional distinctions between high and low culture, figuration and abstraction, and the heroic and the banal in works ranging in size from intimate notebooks to monumental paintings. Four gallery spaces on MoMA’s second floor are dedicated to the exhibition, which comprises over 250 works and constitutes one of the largest exhibitions ever organized at the Museum.
The exhibition travels to Tate Modern from 9 October 2014, to 8 February 2015, followed by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, in spring 2015.
A major publication accompanies the exhibition, comprising 16 essays covering the entire span of Polke’s intermedial production, a comprehensive narrative chronology, an interview with Benjamin Buchloh on the 1976 solo exhibition of Polke’s work that he curated.
The Museum of Modern Art Website