Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
"Since the 1960s Polke has devoted himself, with a lucid and ironic turn of mind, to the study of our postwar consumer society. With hand-painted halftone dots, he transformed newspaper illustrations into symbols of a media-filtered reality, and throughout his career, this device has remained the key to a wide-ranging visual grammar nurtured by an all-embracing lust for knowledge." Jacqueline Burckhardt and Bice Curiger, excerpted from the chapter, "Illuminiations," in Sigmar Polke: Windows for the Zürich Grossmünster.
Edited by Kathy Halbreich, Mark Godfrey, Lanka Tattersall, and Magnus Schaefer. Text by Paul Chan, Christophe Cherix, Tacita Dean, Barbara Engelbach, Mark Godfrey, Stefan Gronert, Kathy Halbreich, Rachel Jans, John Kelsey, Jutta Koether, Christine Mehring, Matthias Muhling, Marcelle Polednik, Christian Rattemeyer, Kathrin Rottmann, Magnus Schaefer, and Lanka Tattersall. Bibliography by Erhard Klein. Interview with Benjamin H. D. Buchloh
Hbk, 9.5 x 12 in. / 320 pgs / 520 color. | 4/30/2014 | In stock ISBN 9780870708893 | $75.00
Published by David Zwirner Books. Foreword by Vicente Todolí. Contributions by Katharina Schmidt.
This volume brings together a rich body of work, ranging from Sigmar Polke’s (1941–2010) mass-produced tourist scenery of the 1960s to the multilayered paintings of the 1980s, and his double-sided Laterna Magica works from 1988 to 1996. During his travels, Polke had a breakthrough in his thinking about color, noting “how, for example, Hinduism explains and uses color or how Australians use color.” Katharina Schmidt, a Polke expert and contemporary of the artist, whose essay for this catalog reconstructs the specifics of Polke’s itinerary, further explores the direct relationship between his experiences and his subsequent expanded exploration of color in the later 1980s. In a new essay, J. Hoberman looks at films Polke produced during his travels, which function like sketchbooks, as the artist captured footage that sets him within the history of experimental film.
Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) is widely recognized for his multidisciplinary output of paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, objects, installations, and films. Characterized by a relentlessly experimental and inquisitive approach to a wide variety of styles and subject matter, the artist’s work engages unconventional materials and techniques, and playfully defies social, political, and aesthetic conventions. Throughout his prolific career, Polke challenged the limits of his subject matter and materials in a rigorously inventive investigation of image-making and perception.
Katharina Schmidt is a German art historian who has written extensively on Sigmar Polke’s work. From 1972 to 1980, she was a curator at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, followed by director of the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden from 1981 to 1985. In 1985, she was appointed director of the Kunstmuseum Bonn, where she stayed until 1992, having overseen the museum’s new extension. Schmidt was director of the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel from 1992 to 2001.
Vicente Todolí is a Spanish museum director and curator. He is artistic director of Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. From 2003 until 2010, he was the director of Tate Modern, where he curated the exhibition Sigmar Polke: History of Everything (2003), with the close involvement of Sigmar Polke.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Foreword by Julia Rust, Claudia Olbricht, Thomas Olbricht. Text by Tereza de Arruda.
Editioned work held a special place within the oeuvre and working methods of Sigmar Polke (1941–2010): it represented both a way to conduct intensive variations on unique works, and also to transform identical prints into unique objects by altering the foreground, background, or layering.
His editions—which comprise objects, books, folders, photography, photocopies, collages and prints—and his painting should therefore be understood as symbiotic. Polke’s images are products of his world; they reveal the changing society of the postwar years. The banality of everyday life, the aspirations of the middle classes, national and international politics—all of this, Polke placed under a microscope and reconfigured. Featuring approximately 200 works from the collection Kunstraum am Limes, this catalog contains all of the artist’s editions.
Published by Walther König, Koln. Text by Laszlo Glozer.
In 1972, Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) moved into the Gaspelshof in Willich on the Lower Rhine, which soon became an artist commune. This place had a tremendous influence on Polke's output; from Willich he set off on numerous journeys with his wife, Katharina Steffen, and lived and worked among a group of friends. Starting from Willich provides special insight into Polke's photographic work from the 1970s. With over 100 images, many never before published or exhibited, the volume offers a glimpse into Germany's 70s alternative scene and Polke's experimentation in the dark room, his forays into multiple exposure, solarisation and chemical processing yielding seemingly unreal, almost transcendental images. Many of these photographs feature masquerade scenes: friends in clown-like get-ups, and Polke himself spontaneously captured on film. This volume, with an essay by Laszlo Glozer, is a superb compendium of a pioneering body of photography.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Text by Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter. Foreword by Dietmar Elger.
This German-only publication documents the seminal joint exhibition of Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) and Gerhard Richter (born 1932) at the Gallery H in Hannover in 1966, as well as the seminal artist's book that Polke and Richter designed together.
Published by Ediciones Polígrafa. Edited by Gloria Moure.
This beautifully produced volume is the updated and revised edition of Polígrafa's 2005 publication of the same name, which was designed and conceived in collaboration with the artist and includes documentation from his private archives. Sigmar Polke: Paintings, Photographs and Films is also the only publication to include a critical overview of the artist's films, and to examine the abiding import of Goya's painting, "El tiempo de las Viejas" ("The Time of the Old Women"), to Polke's oeuvre in general. (The new cover shows Polke photographing this painting in The Beaux Arts Museum in Lille, France.) Throughout, the volume demonstrates how Polke interpreted images of reality rather than reality itself, while also satirizing tendencies in contemporary painting, interrogating the role of the artist as author, dismantling the visual rhetoric of media photography and always embarking upon the most magnificent flights of imagination. Sigmar Polke: Paintings, Photographs and Films affirms the artist's oft-quoted observation that "there has to be an element of risk-taking for me, in my work."
Published by Actes Sud/Musèe de Grenoble. Text by Guy Tossato, Bernard Marcadé.
This volume celebrates the last three decades of Sigmar Polke's creative output, following the profound evolution that took place in his painting of the early 1980s. Polke (1941-2010) both contributed to the key creative movements of his age and destabilized them, constantly experimenting with the visual language of the late twentieth century. Examining the ways in which Polke explored the meaning of images and the potential of color, this volume demonstrates the artist's capacity to revitalize the subversive elements of even consumer-driven arts by disregarding the bounds of typical perception, genre and category. This book, which accompanied the 2013 exhibition of Polke's work at the Musée de Grenoble, examines the different media used by the artist, his research into them and his keen sense of iconoclasm. Limited stock available.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edited by Kathy Halbreich, Mark Godfrey, Lanka Tattersall, and Magnus Schaefer. Text by Paul Chan, Christophe Cherix, Tacita Dean, Barbara Engelbach, Mark Godfrey, Stefan Gronert, Kathy Halbreich, Rachel Jans, John Kelsey, Jutta Koether, Christine Mehring, Matthias Muhling, Marcelle Polednik, Christian Rattemeyer, Kathrin Rottmann, Magnus Schaefer, and Lanka Tattersall. Bibliography by Erhard Klein. Interview with Benjamin H. D. Buchloh
Working across an unusually broad range of media, including painting, photography, film, drawing and sculpture, Sigmar Polke is widely regarded as one of the most influential and experimental artists of the post-war generation. His irreverent wit and promiscuous intelligence, coupled with his exceptional grasp of the properties of his materials, provided the foundation for his punishing critiques of the conventions of art history and social behavior. Experimenting wildly with materials and tools as varied as meteor dust and the xerox machine, Polke made work of both an intimate and monumental scale, drawn from sources as diverse as newspaper headlines and Dürer prints. Polke avoided any one signature style, a fluid method best defined by the word “alibi,” which means “in or at another place.” This also is a reminder of the deflection of responsibility which shaped German behavior during the Nazi period, compelling Polke’s generation to reinvent the role of the artist. Published in conjunction with Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010, the first exhibition to encompass the artist’s work across all media, this richly illustrated publication provides an overview of his cross-disciplinary innovations and career. Essays by Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director of The Museum of Modern Art; Mark Godfrey, Curator of International Art, Tate Modern; and a range of scholars and artists examine the full range of Polke’s exceptionally inventive oeuvre and place his enormous skepticism of all social, political and artistic conventions against German history. Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) was born in Oels, in eastern Germany, now Olesnica in present-day Poland. At the end of World War II, Polke and his family fled to East Germany and, in 1953, escaped to Düsseldorf, where he was trained as a glass painter and subsequently studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Since the late 1960s, Polke’s work has been shown widely, including solo exhibitions at European and American museums. His last major work was a commission for 12 stained glass windows of the Grossmünster in Zurich, Switzerland, completed in 2009.
Kathy Halbreich is Associate Director at The Museum of Modern Art.
Mark Godfrey is Senior Curator of International Art (Europe and Americas) at Tate Modern in London.
Lanka Tattersall is Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Magnus Schaefer is a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Paul Chan is an American artist, writer and founder of the art and ebook publishing company Badlands Unlimited, based in New York City.
Christophe Cherix is The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art.
Tacita Dean is an English filmmaker and visual artist.
Barbara Engelbach is a curator at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.
Stefan Gronert is a curator of the graphics collection at the Kunstmuseum and teaches art history at the University of Bonn, specializing in photography.
Rachel Jans is Assistant Curator at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Published by D.A.P./ Walther König, Köln. Edited by Petra Lange-Berndt, Dietmar Rübel.
In the postwar dawn of late capitalism, options for political address in painting seemed to polarize themselves into, on one hand, the cool critiques of image truth found in the art of Gerhard Richter or Andy Warhol--and on the other, the decidedly hotter and messier rhetoric of a Sigmar Polke. Polke's energetically sprawling painting traversed many idioms, and its anarchic character expressed the ascent of a new leftism in western Germany. Perhaps the supreme instance of Polke's political art is We Petty Bourgeois!, the ambitious series at the heart of this volume. Made between 1974 and 1976, and loosely based on Hans Magnus Enzensberger's 1976 essay “On the Inevitability of the Middle Class,” it consists of ten large-scale canvas-mounted works on paper, reproduced here in foldout color plates, in which densely inscribed layers of figures, traceries, sigils and quotation derived from the pop culture of the era narrate an epic vision of the scars and aspirations of postwar Europe. Hippie culture, terrorism, the first gleamings of punk, the women's movement, leftist tracts, imagery from underground comics and ethnographic studies all parade across Polke's chaotic picture planes. This beautifully produced volume recuperates this series and Polke's art of the 1970s in an energetic compendium of paintings, collages, photographs and archival materials. Sigmar Polke (1941-2010) was born in Lower Silesia, and migrated to Germany with his family in 1945. From 1961 to 1967 he studied at the Düsseldorf Arts Academy under Joseph Beuys, during which time he founded the Capitalist Realism movement with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Fischer. In the 1970s Polke built a substantial oeuvre in photography, from his travels in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Brazil and America, before taking a position at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg in 1977. He died in 2010 following a long battle with cancer.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Text by Petra Lange-Berndt, Dietmar Rübel.
Focusing on Sigmar Polke's artistic strategies of the 1970s, this volume retrieves the artist's largely forgotten series Wir Kleinbürger!, also known as We Petty Bourgeois!. This series is situated alongside other works from this era, by the artist and by his contemporaries, in media including photography, film, drawing and paintings.
Published by Parkett/Zurich Grossmunster. Text by Marina Warner, Gottfried Boehm, Katharina Schmidt, Jacqueline Burckhardt, Bice Curiger, Ulrich Gerster, Regine Helbling, Käthi La Roche, Urs Rickenbach, Claude Lambert.
Sigmar Polke (born 1941) recently completed a series of 12 windows for the Grossmünster cathedral in Zürich, setting new standards for the mutual relationship between art and church. One group of seven Romanesque windows shows luminous mosaics of thinly sliced agate, some of it artificially colored, to produce pulsating blocks of back-lit color. Says Marina Warner, "The interior of rocks opens not only on unexpected colors... on once imprisoned now scintillating rays and gleams, but it also tunnels into the past, into the distant past of geological and cosmological millennia." For the remaining five windows, Polke designed images of figures from the Old Testament, based on medieval illuminations, which have themselves undergone transformation in the course of their long journey through time. Polke's figures now appear as radiantly contemporary icons created in colored glass, using a variety of traditional and customized techniques devised especially for this project.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Text by Chrissie Iles.
Axial Age is the title of a series of seven paintings completed by the influential German artist Sigmar Polke between 2005 and 2007. With his camera, Polke created a fascinating photo documentary of the painting process, including 187 images specially selected by the artist to be featured in this book. Each image is reproduced as a high-quality, full-page color plate. By revealing the materiality and structural complexity of the works from a variety of perspectives and under different lighting conditions, Polke provides the reader with analogies to his oeuvre that are as explicit as they are unique. The title Axial Age is a reference to the term coined by Karl Jaspers to describe the period between 800 BC and 200 BC, during which the world was reinvented based on the principle of transcendence--a concept that finds full expression in this series of paintings. Polke makes use of a broad range of materials in his work, including varnishes and pigments, photographic chemicals, gold and silver, lapis lazuli and malachite--all references to alchemistic processes of transformation. Indeed, with these extensions of painterly techniques, the artist undermines the picture itself, for any shift in perspective or lighting is accompanied by a change in the painting's appearance.
Published by nyehaus/foundation 20 21. Edited by Tim Nye. Essay by Mariette Althaus.
Although he's best known as a painter, an inveterate experimenter whose trademark style is never to settle on a style, Sigmar Polke has been taking and printing photographs throughout his career--or in some cases taking photographs and setting the film aside until he had enough money to print them. Polke studied painting at the Dsseldorf Kunstakademie, and in the lean years after his 1968 graduation, made thousands of images on that system. This boxed limited edition includes 32 unbound, loose tritones and a 41-page softcover book on his photographs from 1969 to 1974.
Published by Dumont. Edited by Bice Curiger. Essays by Hartmut Bàhme and Ulli Seegers.
One of the most important artists of our time, Sigmar Polke has devoted much of the past quarter century to works that explore alchemical themes, and this catalogue is the first to focus on that golden thread in his paintings. With his characteristic exuberance, intelligence, and fearlessness, he has drawn upon such diverse sources as the cultures of the Far East and the Pacific Islands, the eighth-century Book of Kells, and the mythical pseudo-science of Hermes Trismegistus. In his 1982 painting Gold Nuggets, Polke went so far as to use highly poisonous paints containing arsenic, and in other works, he has employed precious minerals such as lapis lazuli to evoke both the mysticism and physicality of color. Older paintings here join with brand new ones, including a comprehensive group of large-format compositions painted especially for the exhibition at Kunsthaus Zrich. This group is complemented by other works from recent years, such as the magnificent four-part piece from 1995, Hermes Trismegistos. Overall, the air of an artist's book infuses the publication due to an intense collaboration between designer Trix Wetter, editor Bice Curiger, and the artist.
How to characterize Sigmar Polke's astonishing, incredibly pleasurable, and stylistically all-embracing oeuvre? Starting from the profane material of everyday culture, Polke interprets images of reality rather than reality itself, satirizes tendencies in contemporary painting, quesitons the role of the artist as author, breaks down the trivial visual worlds of media photography, always on the most magnificent flights of imagination. This publication is the most complete monograph on the artist to date, and includes a number of works never before published.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edited by Margit Rowell. Essays by Bice Curiger, Michael Semff and Margit Rowell.
One of the most significant artists of his generation, Sigmar Polke came of age creatively in Dusseldorf around 1963. His earliest work was crude and humorous, its images outrageous, and its content seemingly trivial, but embedded in these works were subversive and parodic commentaries on consumer society, German postwar politics and classic artistic conventions. Few of Polke's works demonstrate more vividly his imagination, sardonic wit and eclectic creative process than the drawings, watercolors and gouaches of the 1960s and early 70s. More than 300 works are illustrated, including small sketches in ballpoint and felt-tipped pen, larger sheets in watercolor and gouache and still others stamped with a dot screen process, as well as pages from over a dozen small sketchbooks and several monumental works on paper. This book was published to accopany the first American exhibition of these drawings shown at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1999.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edited by Margit Rowell. Essays by Bice Curiger, Michael Semff and Margit Rowell.
One of the most significant artists of his generation, Sigmar Polke came of age creatively around 1963 in Dsseldorf. His earliest expressive idiom was crude and humorous, its images outrageous, and its content seemingly trivial, but embedded in these works were subversive and parodic commentaries on consumer society, German postwar politics, and classic artistic conventions. Few of Polke's works demonstrate more vividly his imagination, sardonic wit, and eclectic creative process than the drawings, watercolors, and gouaches of the 1960s and early 70s. More than 300 works are illustrated, including small sketches in ballpoint and felt-tipped pen, larger sheets in watercolor and gouache, and still others stamped with a dot screen process, as well as pages from over a dozen small sketchbooks and several monumental works on paper. This books was published to accopany the first American exhibiton of these drawings shown at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1999.
Published by Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Essays by Jutta Nestegard, Jon-Ove Steihaug and Poul Erik Tojner.
This modest catalogue provides an excellent introduction to and survey of the paintings of Sigmar Polke, one of the most significant artists of the last 50 years. Since the 1960s, Polke has been making paintings of a deeply ironic nature, works that make fun of the tropes that have dominated the world of modern art. As such, he has situated himself as something of a participant-critic in the dialogue concerning the relevance of painting in recent decades, and has made one of the strongest cases imaginable for its continuing relevance. With 50 color reproductions of important works from all periods of his career, as well as texts by the curators of both the Louisiana Museum in Denmark and the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, Norway, Sigmar Polke: Alchemist is a welcome addition to the Polke literature.
Published by Cantz. Artwork by Sigmar Polke. Contributions by Rudi Fuchs, Rudi Fuchs, Charles Haxthausen. Text by Hans Belting.
Featuring more than 250 works from 1962 to 1997, this is the first full scale monograph to be devoted to the work of the iconoclastic German painter, Sigmar Polke. With contributions by an international team of distinguised scholars and curators, this publication offers a thorough examination of the artist's work, life, iconography, and influences.