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Opening Reception

Duane Hanson Polaroids: 1979–1994

Thursday, February 16

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Aperture Gallery and Bookstore 547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor New York, NY


Join Aperture Foundation for the opening reception of Duane Hanson Polaroids: 1979–1994. Duane Hanson, known for his hyper-realist sculptures of everyday people and the down-and-out, used photography as a primary means of developing his vision. With a meticulous eye, Hanson shot a series of Polaroids to sketch out his sculptures, photographing his subjects in subtle gestures looking for the pose that felt most real. He looked for the perfect tweak of the hand or shift of the gaze that would bring him closer to conceiving the end result, a sculpture that was both an unbelievably lifelike person and simultaneously a broader character type.

The Polaroids on view were often pinned to the wall, or spattered with paint, so they are not pristine but scarred by the artist’s hand. These Polaroids, of which there are nearly one thousand in the archive, are treasured historical documents of the artist’s process, showing not only the sitters but also the sculptures in various stages of development. Individually, they are witty, nostalgic time capsules that are both strange and playful, fascinating photographs in their own right.

Duane Hanson (born in 1925 in Alexandria, Minnesota, died in 1996 in Boca Raton, Florida) received a BA from Macalester College, Minnesota and an MA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. Selected solo exhibitions include Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1978); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1979); Daimaru Museum of Art, Tokyo (1995; traveled to Genichiro-Inkuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Kagawa; and Kintetsu Museum of Art, Osaka); Saatchi Gallery, London (1997); “Duane Hanson,” Serpentine Gallery, London, England (2015); and many more.

This exhibition is co-produced by Aperture Foundation and Gagosian Gallery.

Aperture’s exhibitions are funded, in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Image: Duane Hanson, Cowboy, 1984.

Duane Hanson Polaroids: 1979–1994