In Girlfriends I, Sigmar Polke enlarged an image from popular culture to the point where the halftone pattern is not only visible but competes with the bold women for our attention. In addition to conveying the tones of the photographic image, the halftone here became a symbol of mass media and consumer culture itself. The pattern’s primary job is to trick our eyes into seeing a photographic image with a full range of grays, not a busy field of black dots. But for the artist and many others working in the 1960s, the halftone took on a more layered meaning.
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