Art: Mocker of All Styles

Edgy and elusive, Germany's Sigmar Polke flits through the image haze of consumerist society

The show of early works on paper by the German artist Sigmar Polke, which runs through June 16 at New York City's Museum of Modern Art, is a bit of an anticlimax. Much has been expected of Polke. He is one of the two painters--the other being Anselm Kiefer--who rose to the top of the enormously promoted pack of "new" German artists in the 1980s and remained there when others dropped away or became, like Georg Baselitz, with his crude upside-down figures, formulaic bores.

The contrast between Kiefer and Polke couldn't be sharper, of course. Kiefer (whose drawings were recently...

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