Sigmar Polke, Supermarkets (Wir Kleinbürger), 1976.
“Among West German artists of the second postwar generation—those who came of age in the 1960s—Polke most definitively expressed in his paintings that the first true lapse in the tenets of modernism had occurred. Emerging during the heyday of pop art, Polke toyed with the forms of high and low, simultaneously drawing comic attention to the gap between them and attempting to break down the perceived opposition. With this shift came a marked embrace of the trivial and an accompanying perception that seriousness need no longer be the primary goal for postwar German artists. Polke’s parodic sense of humor and comedic dismantling of numerous modernist visual tropes made him a key figure in the West German variant of pop. Polke’s work stands for the early phase of postmodernism, when an acceptance of the inevitability of stylistic repetition led to a critically effective version of humor.”
—from Permission to Laugh: Humor and Politics in Contemporary German Art by Gregory H. Williams