Sigmar Polke

Sigmar Polke

German artist Sigmar Polke’s stylistic heterogeneity and experimentation were highly influential for a generation of innovative artists such as Martin Kippenberger, Richard Prince, and Fischli & Weiss. Polke was particularly interested in testing the limits of his materials, often mixing unusual chemicals into his photographs and paintings to see what might occur. Importantly, his stylistic innovations were strongly tied to a bold critique of both society and art. The artist was born in Oels, Germany, in 1941, studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Joseph Beuys, among other teachers, and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg. In 1963, Polke founded the “Capitalist Realism” movement with Gerhard Richter, an ironic, anti-capitalist art style that, like Pop Art, appropriated content from advertising while simultaneously rebuking it. In 1978 the artist moved to Cologne, where he worked until his death in 2010. Polke has had solo exhibitions at the Getty Center, Los Angeles and the Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo. The Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Tate Modern, London; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, have all hosted retrospectives of his work.

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