High School Student

Duane Hanson

American, 1925 - 1996

High School Student, 1990

  • On View

Polychromed bronze, cloth, fiber, leather, paper and rubber

Dimensions: 70 × 24 × 18 in. (177.8 × 61 × 45.7 cm)

Bequest of Mary Mallery Davis, by exchangeArt © Estate of Duane Hanson/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, 1994.1

Duane Hanson is best known for his hyper-realistic sculptures of average Americans going about their daily activities. By casting from a live model, a technique he first attempted in 1967, Hanson's sculptures achieve a startling sense of realism. His work is most effective when installed in a natural environment—positioned against a wall in a museum, "walking" in an airport terminal, or situated in an office building—rather than placed on a pedestal or behind glass. Hanson's subjects rarely, if ever, engage the viewer through direct eye contact—they frequently appear to be absorbed in a private world, alone in their thoughts. The young man gazes downward, contemplating something that remains a mystery to the viewer. The striking realism of Hanson’s characters immediately engages passers-by, and seems to initiate a silent dialogue between the viewer and Hanson’s eerie, lifelike subjects.

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