Duane Hanson (Working Title)

Daniel Bontempi, SUNY Binghamton

Abstract

Duane Hanson was an American sculptor who worked primarily in the late 20th century whose hyper-realistic work causes apprehension and unease in both the everyday viewer and the scholarly critic. The artist's lifelike pieces reflect class relationships and hierarchies in American society through their visual rhetoric; his depictions of the working class placed directly in the museum setting contribute to the discomfort that the spectator experiences. This juxtaposition between visual representation and physical environment is just one of the many dichotomies that Hanson explores within his work. Hanson has long stood on the periphery of art criticism; his work contains elements of photorealism, minimalism, and other styles and practices which makes his art lie outside of the realm of most of his contemporaries. This nebulous quality contributes to Hanson's current status as chronically undervalued and under-appreciated in art criticism both during his active years (1960s-1990s) as well as today. The intent of my research is to uncover exactly what qualities make Hanson's works so disquieting and often even inaccessible despite their status of replicas of everyday people in polyester resin. His work can occasionally be distressingly uncanny in its portrayal of class and class relations in American society; uncanny not just visually but also ideologically.

 
Apr 10th, 9:30 AM Apr 10th, 11:00 AM

Duane Hanson (Working Title)

Duane Hanson was an American sculptor who worked primarily in the late 20th century whose hyper-realistic work causes apprehension and unease in both the everyday viewer and the scholarly critic. The artist's lifelike pieces reflect class relationships and hierarchies in American society through their visual rhetoric; his depictions of the working class placed directly in the museum setting contribute to the discomfort that the spectator experiences. This juxtaposition between visual representation and physical environment is just one of the many dichotomies that Hanson explores within his work. Hanson has long stood on the periphery of art criticism; his work contains elements of photorealism, minimalism, and other styles and practices which makes his art lie outside of the realm of most of his contemporaries. This nebulous quality contributes to Hanson's current status as chronically undervalued and under-appreciated in art criticism both during his active years (1960s-1990s) as well as today. The intent of my research is to uncover exactly what qualities make Hanson's works so disquieting and often even inaccessible despite their status of replicas of everyday people in polyester resin. His work can occasionally be distressingly uncanny in its portrayal of class and class relations in American society; uncanny not just visually but also ideologically.