Mental Floss

The hyper-real sculpture of Duane Hanson

Ransom Riggs
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queenie.jpg
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lawnmower-man.jpg
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In 1973, Hanson moved from New York City to Florida, where he focused on representing what he considered the familiar and ordinary Americans, such as tourists, shoppers, and sunbathers. Like the Pop artists of the 1960s, he was interested in depicting the commonplace in uncommon ways. Although his realism sometimes was unflattering or even brutal, his stated intention was to ennoble his subjects by turning them into art. Despite his apparent shift away from politically engaged themes, the emotionalism of these earlier works remained, depicting quiet suffering, melancholic introspection, or resignation of these people. Hanson's "slice-of-life" figures and their ordinary activities are frozen forever in their poses and actions. Perhaps the ultimate paradox of Hanson's realism is that his lifelike figures seem incapable of escaping their situations. In the end, the courage with which they seem to endure this fate expresses the dignity and nobility that Hanson found in the common American.

traveler.jpg
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man-on-bench.jpg
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To see larger versions of these works, click here.

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