August 31: an unexpected delight: “slab man”

Duane Hanson (1925-96) did many hyper-realist figure pieces, usually in groups or poses that are designedly foreign to the gallery spaces where they are shown. Striking, then, is his wonderful “slab man” at the Cantor Art Center at Stanford. The figure stands in the contemporary gallery so that visitors have to maneuver around it. I came up to it from behind; I noticed it, but didn’t think about

"slab man" [Cantor  ]

“slab man” 1974  vinyl resin & fiberglass

it: it was some maintenance guy pondering next steps. It wasn’t until I’d circled around and was admiring that wonderful Alice Neel on the green wall that I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the guy seriously wasn’t moving. It was the stillness that revealed what it was.

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Other gallery-goers, I noticed, had the same experience.