Duane Hanson

Lunchbreak, 1989

Sculpture
polyvinyl, polychromed with oil, mixed media, with accessories; dimensions variable
Basel 2019

Lunchbreak (1989) by Duane Hanson is a life-sized sculptural installation depicting three blue-jean-clad construction workers amid a worksite, replete with scaffolding, power tools, and a pizza box. Featuring Hanson’s signature technique of creating hyperrealistic human sculptures out of polyvinyl cast from living models and accessorized with found objects, this work compels the viewer to contemplate stereotypes and perceptions of class and labor. Throughout his career, Hanson’s subject matter shifted from the haunting and affective portrayal of racial tension and police brutality to the representation of societal issues and class differences in America with straight-forward, non-idealized representations of lower and middle classes. Due to the current political climate, this work takes on a charged relevance in his uncannily realistic depiction of blue-collar workers, who are the ongoing subjects of much electoral and policy debate. Depending on the site of the work’s installation, Lunchbreak takes on varying levels of verisimilitude, at times appearing to blend naturally into the surrounding environment.