Subs and I went to the Tate Modern today – it was a freezing cold day. We got the bus to St Paul’s and then walked across the wonderful Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern – not my favourite gallery, it’s cavernous and hard to find your way around. Only about a fifth of the building has been refurbished and is in use – so much space and so little art.
Anyway we went to see the final days of the Sigmar Polke retrospective.
There were 14 rooms! There were some of the biggest paintings I have ever seen. Lots of cartoon like imagery which didn’t do anything for me. Lots of newspaper imagery, copied and painted.
Polke is a very, very prolific artist who worked in many different media from manipulated photographs, painting, film, books. Here is a quote from the UK Guardian newspaper about the disparity between German and British artists – why can’t we appreciate what other countries do without disparaging our own artists – this diatribe came from a well known journalist:
…. England (or even the whole of Britain) would have little chance against Germany in an artistic World Cup. Against a team of modern German artists that could boast the likes of Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys , Sigmar Polke, Max Ernst, Kurt Schwitters and Otto Dix, who could we put up? Overpaid stars like Damien Hirst and Marc Quinn, plus a few old-timers such as Stanley Spencer and Henry Moore .
Look further back in history and the contrast hardens: who would we play against such German legends as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Matthias Grunewald? Well, we had all time ace Hans Holbein … oh, but wait a moment. He was German too.
Well – what about David Hockney, Peter Blake, Barbara Hepworth, Sarah Lucas, Anthony Caro, to name a few, oh and let’s not forget Richard Hamilton.
Here is my homage to this prolific artist and for giving Subs and me an interesting morning at the Tate.