Carol Vogel profiles the “Alchemist” Sigmar Polke

Carol Vogel profiles the fascinating Sigmar Polke in the New York Times:

Sorcerer, jester, sage, visionary — Mr. Polke is a hero to many artists working today and a magnet for curators and collectors. Part of the attraction is his relentless quest to ask more of the conventional canvas, applying clumps or droplets of ancient substances or cheap mass-produced fabrics in unusual juxtapositions with sketched figures.

At a moment when no clear artistic movement or style dominates popular tastes, he is known as a master of the unexpected. And while often rooted in ancient mythology, philosophy and chemistry, artists and curators say, his work always seems new. The artist John Baldessari, 75, describes Mr. Polke as an artist’s artist. “Any one move can provide a career for a lesser artist,” he explained.

He has reclusive tendencies:

Unlike Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst or Takashi Murakami, who work hard at maintaining their movie-star allure, Mr. Polke shuns the limelight and guards his privacy. He has been known to go for months without answering his phone, opening his mail or allowing visitors into his studio.

[h/t: JR]

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