New York

Duane Hanson

Van de Weghe Fine Art

Duane Hanson could be considered a victim of his own virtuosity. The deceased American sculptor’s uncannily naturalistic figures are so lifelike that their verisimilitude often subsumes their content. A Hanson sculpture is like a mirage; it’s hard not to marvel at how a simulation can be so like the real thing. In part because of this effect, Hanson provokes art-historical confusion: Is he a Pop artist or a Photorealist? While the American-ness and sheer realism of Hanson’s sculptures make both potential designations reasonable, to experience them in the “flesh” exposes the labels’ insufficiency. Hanson’s early sculptures

from the middle and late 1960s are raw and bracing—a sooty derelict woman amid a tableau of street squalor, American soldiers’ bloody corpses, a sallow junkie slumped against a wall. In 1970, Hanson purged his sculptures of sensationalism; his subjects became ordinary,

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