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Modern Art History

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When researching modern artistic icons,Duane Hanson is a name that immediately comes to mind.His artwork is a reflection on modern society aswell as a commentary on social clichés.Hanson uses sculpture to establish his point of view on society.His works are capatilised by their photorealistic appearance and subject matter. Hanson ,himself disputed his photorealist title as he felt that his art had more purpose and insight rather than solely replicating reality. He saw himself best described himself as a "Vernacularist." When asked Hanson stated that "When I went to art school, realism was a no-no...never copy... I see more inside these sculptures than outside. That is what I manipulate to make forms look right and achieve a credibility. I never wanted to be tradition-bound to so-called 'realist' concepts or procedures. I don't even like to discuss it."

Hanson describes the masses, their loneliness, isolation and despair. His work, however also has a humorous element as the people are so ordinary and living such ordinary lives that are borderline boring and it is this aspect that makes them so incredible. They are mostly overweight, unattractive, and dirty.Hanson describes this as "...I always like bringing out the weight and the communication of a certain amount of heaviness that I find in our time - a kind of sadness." Hanson uses American society to inspire his subjects. People who, in their artificial perfection, evoked bewilderment, astonishment, and dismay in viewers but lacked that attention in their reality. Hanson believed that by selecting ordinary people who lead seemingly unremarkable lives he could capture what onlookers see in the stereotype.

Duane Hanson was born in Alexandria, Minnesota in 1925. At age thirteen, Hanson carved a miniature sculpture of Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy out of a piece of wood. In following his passion for art, Hanson received a BA from Macalester College located in St. Paul in 1946 and later continued his studies in sculpting at Cranbrook Academy. In 1953, Hanson moved to Germany, where he remained until 1960. He then returned to the united states. He first moved to Atlanta Georgia where he lectured at Oglethorpe university and in 1965 he settled in Florida, where he stayed until his death in 1996. Hanson died in 1996 after developing lymphatic cancer "due to toxic resin and fixative fumes from his years of sculpting". Hanson's art career lasted more than thirty years, with his major successes and popularity in the 1960's and 1970's. Mid-decade Hansons work focused on political movements and social issues such as racial inequality and social controversies. Works such as Abortion and gangland victim are examples of works dealing with such topics. Hanson was subject to controversy regarding his subjects and many of his sculptures were banned from exhibition. His work has been praised by some for its "underlying humanity or its implied satire and criticized by others for its brand of deadpan dullness". It was only later that his interest in stereotypes and human attitudes began to define his artwork deeming them more suitable for public observation.

The work that best defines his later work is Supermarket shopper. The sculpture itself is a life size model made from cast polychromed fiberglass, vinyl, which was made to look more realistic by means of paint, clothing, accessories and display context. In this sculpture which was created in 1970, Hanson is aiming to communicate American culture and consumerism within the, then, present century. Her shopping basket shows overconsumption which Hanson relays as a deplorable trait. While fully clothed, her body doesn't adhere to the modern concept of beauty and rather aims to expose her flaws, all of which is characteristic of Hansons subjects. While most artists prior to Hanson sought to depict perfection and idealism.

The degree to which superrealists would go to make something look

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