Polke Retrospective to MoMA, Spring 2014


Sigmar Polke, the reclusive, eccentric and highly influential German artist who died in 2010, will have his first retrospective, on view next year at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (Apr. 19-Aug. 3, 2014). Co-organized with London’s Tate Modern, the exhibition will travel there, as well as to the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, where Polke lived from the late ‘70s until his death. 

“Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963-2010” is curated by MoMA’s associate director Kathy Halbreich (who initially broached the idea of the show with the elusive Polke when she visited him in his studio in 2008), and Mark Godfrey, a curator of international art at the Tate. The exhibition, comprising 300 works—painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, prints and films—will be installed in four galleries on the museum’s second floor. According to MoMA, this will be one of the largest exhibitions they’ve ever organized. Among the catalogue’s contributors are artists Paul Chan, Tacita Dean and Jutta Koether.

In an obituary published in A.i.A.‘s October 2010 issue, contributing editor Raphael Rubinstein accounted for Polke’s immense legacy: “He deflated the utopian pretensions of modernism, recognized the artistic potential of consumer society’s most banal products, stirred together photography and psychedelics to startling effect, mined the earth and heavens for unorthodox materials, retrieved history as a vital subject for painting, created a new multilayered pictorial syntax, reconciled figuration and abstraction, and much, much more.”