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>> Sigmar Polke in the Tate Modern
>> William Kentridge awarded the "Goslarer Kaiserring"
>> Deutsche Bank Art at the "Art Cologne" Fair

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Sigmar Polke in the Tate Modern

Don't shoot the artist! Sigmar Polke is now examining the nature of the contemporary in his works. One of his most recent paintings, for instance Fastest Gun in the West (2002), can currently be seen in the exhibition Sigmar Polke: History of Everything in London's Tate Modern. The exhibition was first shown in Dallas, and that is where his motifs come from – derived from the American "gun-crazy" culture.


Fastest Gun in the West, 2002
Private Collection
©Sigmar Polke


Polke, whose works Deutsche Bank has been collecting for decades and whom they dedicated an exhibition tour to in 1995, has also created works especially for the Tate Modern, for instance two large-scaled paintings in which stark-naked nudists are playing around in a landscape: on one of the paintings, a naked laughing woman is hunting two equally naked men with a pitchfork in a paradisiacal garden. Should We Blame the Parents?, asks the title. "These works appear to be a witty commentary on Britain's ambiguous attitude towards sex," write the curators of the London exhibition somewhat stiffly on the website of the Tate Modern.

Sigmar Polke had a sense of humor from the very beginning. Capitalist Realism, which he invented together with Gerhard Richter, ironically picks up on the concept of Socialist Realism from beyond the Berlin Wall, but it also expresses a consumer-critical attitude that differentiated the German artists from American Pop Art.


The British press is enthusiastic. Adrian Searle, art critic at the Guardian, writes about "Polke's first-ever major London show": "Compared to Polke's, most painting looks feeble, slow-witted, uninventive. Even though his is an art frequently based on secondary material - the newspaper clipping, the found photograph, old engravings, old art, old pornography - his work startles, confuses, fascinates and bedevils anyone who cares, or tries, to pin it down".


The Hunt for the Taliban and Al Qaeda, 2002
Private Collection, courtesy Michael Werner, New York and Cologne
©Sigmar Polke


The exhibition Sigmar Polke: History of Everything can be seen beginning on January 4, 2004 in London's Tate Modern.