Sigmar Polke, R.I.P.


Practitioner of "capitalist realism," a German take on Pop, who remained consistently inventive throughout a long career. A great improviser, he could filigree a found image or scrap of material with acres of irrelevant but intricate scribbling. Cartoony work such as the above showed his attachment to "bad art"; in that sense he is a successor to Picabia and father to Mike Kelley. A running theme was degraded reproduction and enlarged photo grain became a signature for him the way Ben Day dots were for Roy Lichtenstein. Consistently overlooked and underrated was Polke's photographic work: largely impenetrable groupings of serial out-of-focus black and white imagery taped casually to mounting board. He will be greatly missed.

One of the better online archives of his work (all prints).