New York

Duane Hansen

O.K. Harris

An example of such a contrast is readily at hand, if one compares Pearlstein’s Two Female Models with Drawing Table with an example from Duane Hansen’s recent show, Derelict Woman, 1973–74. Both works—to refer to Tillim once more—seem equally necrophilic and prophylactic. A picture, larger than human scale, made out of oil paint and canvas, and showing two figures and some of the apparatus of traditional art; painted with a fairly small brush and presenting an illusion of depth essentially through a Renaissance technology. A sculpture, exactly the same size as its subject, colored and dressed, surrounded by real trash and made out of polyester foam. Both works are obviously contemporary—Pearlstein’s women look like they live in 1974—and in both it seems clear that the medium involved is very important. Pearlstein’ sway of working and choice of subject matter is read as a claim to the preservation of values supposedly blessed by history and the careful attention of specialized insight, while Hansen implies a technology that equates art with the everyday and characterizes art making as a tool that can focus attention on the banal, which is taken to be a source of meaning—or, as it were, meaninglessness. One can see that a person who actually desired to live with the immediate present—its everyday, middlebrow parameters—constantly nearby would want to have one of each. 

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe