Concurrent with the Raymond Pettibon exhibition of drawings, the gallery will feature a show of selected works on paper from the 1960s by German artist Sigmar Polke.
Sigmar Polke is one of the most important post-war painters to emerge from Germany. His work has been shown extensively around the world and is represented in most international museum collections. His last large-scale exhibition in New York City took place at the Brooklyn Museum in 1992.
Polke is known as an obsessive draftsman, who has created many works on paper throughout his career. Of specific importance are his drawings from the 1960s. During the early part of this decade, he was studying, alongside with Gerhard Richter and Blinky Palermo at the Academy in Dusseldorf where Joseph Beuys was a teacher. Against the background of Beuys' influence on the Academy, which Polke regarded critically, the years 1963-1970 were formative for the artist. In these years, he created a stylistic vocabulary in his paintings and drawings from which he was to draw upon throughout his ongoing career.
The drawings, executed with ball-point pen, pencil, or gouache on notebook paper, or regular office stock, have a curious immediacy to them. Interesting especially in relationship to the work of Raymond Pettibon, is the use of language in these drawings and the affinity to iconography taken from popular culture. The works, produced at a time when Gennany was struggling for a new identity in the midst of an unsettling decade, hide in them many clues of Gennany's cultural status quo of its time. They also underline the beginning of Germany's ongoing love affair with American popular culture. Seen through the distance of more than thirty years now, these works are impressive for their spontaneity, their depth of invention, and last but not least, for their captivating simplicity. The drawings, which seem highly relevant today, are surely an example of some ofthe greatest achievements of post-World War II German draftsmanship.