An interview of Duane Hanson conducted 1989 August 23-24, by Liza Kirwin, for the Archives of American Art.
Hanson speaks of his years growing up in rural Minnesota; his Swedish ancestry; the influence of his wives and family on his art; his teaching career spanning sixteen to twenty years; his experiences at Cranbook; discussions of his place in the art world as a Realist, Hyperrealist, or New Realist; influence of contemporary sculptors of the time on his work; the importance of American art being able to break into the Russian art scene; his process and the pitfalls and advantages of different types of materials, including bronze and polyester resin; the schedule he follows when working and how the pace of his schedule and deadlines affect his art; whether the materials he employs contributed to his cancer; the discussion of his disease, subsequent treatment, and how it impacted his art; the change in focus from his earlier pieces centered around war or social upheaval to his newer, satirical work such as "Jogger" or "Sunbather with Black Bikini," which featured more athletic or trendy characterizations of people; his thought process in choosing what to sculpt; discussions of his exhibition at the Whitney Museum and various galleries in the United States, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, among others; and his ecological concerns. Duane Hanson also recalls Andy Warhol, John DeAndrea, Carl Milles, John Rood, Julius Schmidt, William McVey, Rodin, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Duane Hanson (1925-1996) was a sculptor from Davie, Florida. Hanson was best known for his life-size figures, often dressed in real clothes.
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators. Funding for this interview provided by the Lannan Foundation.