Sigmar Polke

Born in Oels, Germany, in 1941, Sigmar Polke began his artistic career in 1963 by cofounding the Capitalist Realism movement with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg. Capitalist Realism reflected the poverty and aspirations of everyday Germans in the early postwar years and was a gritty and humorous response to the glamour and frivolity of American Pop Art. Developing a homemade aesthetic that used raster dots, found fabrics, ballpoint pens, and household paint, Polke made works of provocative simplicity that upended traditional artistic hierarchies, attacked abstraction, and playfully undermined conceptualism.

In the early 1970s, photography came to dominate Polke’s creative pursuit, the alchemical side of which would prove significant in his paintings in the later 1970s and beyond. Thereafter, his signature style mashed together representation and abstraction, which he further complicated with the introduction of unstable pigments that changed color with temperature and humidity. Images from newspapers and magazines were appropriated, enlarged, and distorted, before being hand-painted onto canvases made up of translucent materials and found fabrics. Polke died in 2010.

Polke is among the world’s most celebrated artists, and his work has been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1991; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1996; Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 1997–98; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1999; Tate Modern, London, 2003–4; and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Modern, London, in 2014.

Selected Artworks

July 29, 2017

Placing Your Trust in the Black Male Body

Hyperallergic by Seph Rodney

In a performance at Fergus McCaffrey gallery, Clifford Owens used his body as an instrument to propel others not to fear, but to trust. Read More
July 25, 2017

Tatsuo Ikeda

Fergus McCaffrey, New York, is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Tatsuo Ikeda in the United States. Featuring over 50 drawings, paintings, and sculptures, the exhibition opens on September 7th and continues until October 21st. Read More