Duane Hanson was an American artist based in South Florida but born in Minnesota, renowned for his lifecast realistic works of people. Since the early 1970’s Duane Hanson has been making startlingly lifelike sculptures of middle America accomplished through a complex process of casting from live models, recreated in bronze or fibreglass resin.
Works that first brought him notice were of figures grouped in tableaux, usually of brutal and violent subjects, somewhat similar to the work of Edward Keinholz. Hanson's Abortion (1966) was inspired by the horrors of a backroom procedure; Accident (1967) showed a motorcycle crash; and Race Riot (1969–1971) included among its seven figures a white policeman terrorizing an African American man as well as an African American rioter attacking the policeman. Other works which dealt with physical violence or other explosive social issues of the 1960s were Riot (1967), Football Players (1969), and Vietnam Scene (1969).
These works, cast from actual people, were made of fiberglass, painted to make the revealed skin look realistic with veins and blemishes. Hanson then clothed the figures with garments from second-hand clothing stores and theatrically arranged the action.
Among the many awards and accolades Hanson received before his death in January 1996, he was perhaps most proud of those that identified him as a Florida artist. In 1983, he was given the Ambassador of the Arts Award of the State of Florida, and two years later he received the first annual "Florida Prize" of $10,000 for his outstanding achievements in sculpture.
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