Duane Hanson’s hyperrealistic sculptures portraying working-class Americans eschewed the predominant expressionist and Minimalist concerns of the 1950s and 1960s for an unflinching investigation of the human condition. Early life-size tableaux depicting soldiers killed in action, police brutality, and the homeless confronted viewers with devastating truths largely overlooked in the art of the time. Throughout his forty-year career, Hanson populated exhibition spaces with uncanny sculptural likenesses of blue-collar workers—repairmen, waitresses, and bricklayers—that elicited surprise, embarrassment, amusement, and sympathy from unsuspecting viewers. Although his world-weary figures owe certain qualities to Pop and Photorealism, their veracity prompts responses normally reserved for interactions with other living people. These sculptural illusions, radical in the context of their time, anteceded the later gestures of contemporary provocateurs such as Chris Burden, Maurizio Cattelan, and Fred Wilson.
Hanson was born in 1925 in Alexandria, Minnesota, and died in 1996 in Boca Raton, Florida. He received a BA from Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and an MA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Selected solo exhibitions include Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (1975); Des Moines Art Center (1977); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (1978); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1979); Kunsthaus Wien, Vienna (1992); Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1994, traveled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas); Daimaru Museum, Tokyo (1995, traveled to Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Kagawa, Japan, and Kintetsu Museum, Osaka, Japan); Saatchi Gallery, London (1997); Duane Hanson: A Survey of His Work from the ’30s to the ’90s, Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1998, traveled to Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis); Duane Hanson: More than Reality, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany (2001, traveled to Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy; Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands; Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; and Kunsthaus Zürich); Duane Hanson: A Midwestern Perspective, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio (2004); Duane Hanson: Real Life, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania (2006); Sculptures of the American Dream, Kunsthalle Krems, Austria (2009, traveled to ARKEN—Museum for Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen, Helsinki City Art Museum, UNESCO Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte, Völklingen, Germany, and Fundación Canal, Madrid); Duane Hanson, Serpentine Galleries, London (2015); and Duane Hanson Polaroids: 1979–1994, Aperture Foundation, New York (2017).
I Don’t Like Fiction, I Like History
Duane Hanson with Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Sharon Lockhart, and Jeff Wall
September 5–28, 2018
In homage to G. Bataille
June 1–July 28, 2018
Extended through June 30, 2018
April 24–June 30, 2018
Duane Hanson | Olivier Mosset
September 29–November 12, 2016
Summer Group Show
May 8–September 10, 2015
980 Madison Avenue, New York
October 30–December 3, 2014
Park & 75, New York
The Human Body in Contemporary American Sculpture
February 1–March 2, 1996
980 Madison Avenue, New York
Duane Hanson in
Almost Alive: Hyperrealistic Sculptures in Art
Through October 21, 2018
Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany
Almost Alive: Hyperrealistic Sculptures in Art gives an overview of hyperrealism as a movement over the past fifty years. The exhibition traces this art from the 1960s to the present, but also shows that the depictions of human physicality are always influenced by the respective zeitgeist of their time. Work by Duane Hanson is included.
Installation view, Almost Alive: Hyperrealistic Sculptures in Art, Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany, July 21–October 21, 2018. Artwork © Estate of Duane Hanson/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photo: Ulrich Metz
Collection François Pinault
June 23–September 9, 2018
Couvent des Jacobins and Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, France
The city of Rennes will host an exhibition of works from the Pinault collection under the title “Debout!”. More than sixty works by twenty renowned artists will be on display in locations and institutions around the city. Work by Duane Hanson, Thomas Houseago, and Tatiana Trouvé will be included.
Thomas Houseago, Baby, 2009–10 © Thomas Houseago
Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now)
March 21–July 22, 2018
Met Breuer, New York
Seven hundred years of sculptural practice—spanning fourteenth-century Europe to the global present—will be examined anew. Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now) will explore narratives of sculpture in which artists have sought to replicate the literal, living presence of the human body. Work by Duane Hanson and Jeff Koons will be included.
Jeff Koons, Buster Keaton, 1988 © Jeff Koons
Duane Hanson in
March 10–July 1, 2018
This exhibition shows a unique selection of thirty-five three-dimensional works
by twenty-eight artists. Hyperrealism Sculpture is an overview of the worldwide developments in hyperrealist sculpture over the past fifty years. Work by Duane Hanson is included.
Duane Hanson, Bodybuilder, 1990 © Estate of Duane Hanson/Licensed by VAGA, New York