Duane Hanson

Tourists (1970)

About this artwork

Hanson’s earliest life-casts, which date from the late 1960s, had an overtly political edge, but in 1970 he began casting ordinary people doing nothing in particular: reading, shopping, hanging about. These Tourists are perhaps his best-known works. Like Andy Warhol, Hanson saw boredom and banality as key characteristics of post-war, consumer society, but he also injected his work with humour and warmth. Although these two figures are presented as a couple, they were cast from life, one after the other, and never even met.

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Duane Hanson

Duane Hanson

Hanson was born in Minnesota. He lived in Germany in the 1950s, finally settling in Florida in 1965. He was one of a number of sculptors who took to casting figures from life in the 1960s. Hanson's first casts, dating from 1967, had a political and social-realist edge, referring to the Vietnam War and the race riots. In 1970 he began casting working-class figures in ordinary, mundane situations, such as a woman with her shopping trolley or a housewife reading. Like the Pop artists, with whom he is often associated, Hanson was interested in the banality of consumer society.