Graduate Fine Arts Building
3001 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
This seminar considers Sigmar Polke’s changing approach to abstraction. It starts by looking at a group of works Polke produced in the late 1960s, which seem to parody modernist abstraction. Godfrey considers why Polke felt that West Germany’s embrace of abstraction in the 1960s was so problematic; but at the same time, why the works made in 1968 are not only parodic. Godfrey then focuses on Polke’s abstraction from 1982 until his death, as well as his use of experimental materials and processes, and at the ways different media worked in his abstraction – painting, photography, notebooks, and photocopying.
Godfrey is a curator and art historian working at Tate Modern, where he has curated exhibitions including Gerhard Richter, Alighiero E Boetti, Francis Alys, and Roni Horn. Godfrey's work-in-progress includes shows of Richard Hamilton and Sigmar Polke, both of which will appear at the Tate. Outside the Tate, Godfrey is working on a Christopher Williams retrospective and a project with R.H. Quaytman. Godfrey is the author of Abstraction and the Holocaust and Alighiero E Boetti (both Yale University Press). He has contributed to numerous catalogues. Recently essays have addressed the work of Frances Stark, Sharon Lockhart, James Welling, and Fischli/Weiss.
The Seminar Series is programmed by the Contemporary Working Group, a newly inaugurated interdisciplinary research group, generously funded by a USC Research Collaboration Fund, for practitioners across the humanities and fine arts who are working on contemporary research topics or making creative work in relation to the contemporary field. For more information about The CWG, read more here.
This event is co-sponsored with VSRI.