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Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland

April 30 through July 31, 2005


(above: Duane Hanson, Lunch Break, Collection of Mrs. Duane Hanson. © Estate of Duane Hanson/Licensed by VAGA/New York, NY)

A groundbreaking exhibition of 22 "size of life" sculptures by social realist, Duane Hanson opens April 30 at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and continues through July 31, 2005.

Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland is the first large-scale showing of Hanson's work to focus primarily on the sculptor's Midwestern upbringing and its influence on his artistic vision. Organized by the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, N.D., the exhibition includes sculptures from the collections of Hanson's widow, Wesla Hanson and collector David Gossoff.

As a social realist, Duane Hanson (1925-1996) took sculpture off the pedestal, removed the boundaries that separate art from life, and created a realism that compels us to take a closer look at our neighbors and ourselves. "The sculptures by Duane Hanson are uncanny in their realism and careful detailing of everyday life. They surprise us with the commonplace, and by placing the sculptures in a museum (which is their intended venue), Hanson turns inside out our notions of high art," said Ringling Associate Curator Joanna Weber.(left: Duane Hanson, Man on Mower, Collection of Mrs. Duane Hanson. © Estate of Duane Hanson/Licensed by VAGA/New York, NY)

Though Hanson lived and worked in the cowboy community of Davie, FL, he was born and raised in the agrarian culture of rural Minnesota. It was this upbringing that shaped his moral character and instilled in him the value of hard work and the importance of community. He recognized and admired ordinary people, such as laborers and the elderly, whom he believed had been marginalized by society. Through his art he sought to make the general public aware of their presence and contribution to society, according to Dr. Erika Doss, author of Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland.

Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland exhibition opens to the public Saturday, April 30, 2005, with a Membership preview on the preceding Friday, April 29.

The effect of Hanson's Midwestern roots on his interpretation of social realist art will be explored on the exhibition's opening day when Dr. Erika Doss, Professor of Art History at the University of Colorado, Boulder, presents the Ringling ViewPoints Lecture at 10:30 a.m. at the adjacent Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. Lecture tickets are available by calling 941.358.3180.

On that same day, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, the Ringling Education Department will host a Saturday for Educators Staring: The Hyper-Real Sculpture of Duane Hanson. Florida teachers can reserve a seat for the workshop by contacting Nicole Crane, Associate Curator of Education at ncrane@ringling.org.

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rev. 4/15/05

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