Happy Birthday, Sigmar Polke

Today we celebrate the birthday of Sigmar Polke, born with a severe case of nearsightedness that he credited for his lifelong passion for optics. Polke wore glasses for most of his life and embraced his impairment by experimenting with range of focus, multiple exposure, blurring, over and under-exposing, and staining in his photography and paintings. As part of a series interpreting a palm tree, Höhere Wesen befehlen depicts a mass of cotton that has been abstracted by blur, perhaps recognizable only through the caption—literally, “cotton palm”.