in the early eighties, if you were a painter, and you happened to be sigmar polke, and you happened to be mates with rudi fuchs who was the director of the van abbe museum in eindhoven at that time, you could ring him up and say: i have to go to australia because i need to discover some new colours. can you give me a €35,000? when i come back i’ll give you a painting. zo gezegd zo gedaan. the museum and eindhoven council coughed up, polke went to oz and when he came back he painted Goldklumpen (= gold nugget). fuchs tells the whole story (in dutch) in de groene, but that’s the gist.
i too went to australia to discover new colours in the early eighties. i’d like to go and look at the painting but it is not on show and there are no plans to show it. the museum tells me they have 3.300 works but only room to show about 130. so i wrote to them.
dear van abbe museum
this is not meant in an unfriendly way, but may i offer the comment that i think this means you have too many works in your collection? i ask myself, what is the point of artworks that are locked in the vaults of museums? or is that just me? do you think sigmar polke and the other artists made the work to be seen or to be locked up unseen in the vaults of a museum? it is kind of ironic that we live in a world where the most grotesque rubbish is free to hanging everywhere on walls in homes and buildings and is seen every day and the most precious beautiful works are acquired by museums and hidden in their vaults.