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Duane Hanson’s 'Security Guard' from 1990 on view at Gagosian Gallery in New York
Duane Hanson, Security Guard, 1990. Autobody filler, polychromed in oil, mixed media, with accessories , 71 x 26 x 13 inches. ©The Estate of Duane Hanson. Photography by Robert McKeever. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.


NEW YORK, NY.- Gagosian New York presents Duane Hanson’s Security Guard (1990).

In his hyper-realistic sculptures portraying working-class Americans, Hanson 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’s uncanny sculptural likenesses of blue-collar workers—repairmen, waitresses, and bricklayers—inhabited exhibition spaces eliciting surprise, embarrassment, amusement, and sympathy from unsuspecting viewers. Although his world-weary figures owe something to Pop and Photorealism, their veracity prompted responses from viewers normally reserved for interactions with other living people. These sculptural illusions, radical in the context of their time, anticipated the later gestures of contemporary provocateurs such as Chris Burden, Maurizio Cattelan, and Fred Wilson.

The appearance of a single uniformed Security Guard—leaning against the wall of an otherwise empty storefront gallery, eyes fixed to the floor and shortwave radio in hand—refreshes and updates the visceral experience and critical relevance of Hanson’s art for our own time.

Duane Hanson was born in Alexandria, Minnesota in 1925, and died in Boca Raton, Florida in 1996. Selected solo exhibitions include Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (1975); Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (1977); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1978); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1979); Kunsthaus Wien, Austria (1992); Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada (1994, traveled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas); Daimaru Museum of Art, Tokyo (1995, traveled to Genichiro-Inkuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Kagawa; and Kintetsu Museum of Art, Osaka); Saatchi Gallery, London (1997); “Duane Hanson, A Survey of his Work from the 30's to the 90's,” Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale (1998, traveled to Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis; and “Duane Hanson: More than Reality, 2001,” Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2001, traveled to Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan; Kunsthal Rotterdam, The Netherlands; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; and Kunsthaus Zürich).

I want to achieve a certain tough realism which speaks of the fascinating idiosyncrasies of our times.—Duane Hanson





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