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Wildly Inventive Sigmar Polke

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Sanford Schwartz reviews the exhibition Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010 at MoMA, New York, on view through August 3, 2014.

Schwartz writes: "Polke was a one-man think tank for new and invariably idiosyncratic ways to make paintings. Surely his coming of age in the 1960s—when, in art schools, it was held that painting as an art form was finished—contributed to the way we always seem to hear him say, as we stand before one new kind of picture after another, 'You think painting is dead? Try this!' A picture by Polke thus exists as a unique and distinctly physical, hand-fashioned entity—and, at the same time, it has the weight of an idea, a suggestion, or a prototype for someone to pick up on. It is a recipe that can leave you charged up, especially if you feel you are on his wavelength; but at the next moment you can wonder if there is any ground beneath you."

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