I was disappointed today when I thought that one of my favorite art pieces was apparently “on vacation.” Duane Hanson’s “Museum Guard” at the Nelson-Atkins Museum is like an old friend, and I wanted to say hello, but he’d been turned out of his old gallery to make room for a temporary exhibition. I laughed when I discovered him in a new location in an Early American room. Good for him! We all need a little shake-up in our routines and locales.
A sign in his new, temporary location says:
Why is that museum guard standing in The Hooper Room?
Duane Hanson’s realist sculpture, Museum Guard, has stood faithfully at his post in Gallery L3 since the Bloch Building opened in 2007. Now that two of the contemporary galleries have been emptied to make room for the exhibition “To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America,” he requested assignment elsewhere in the museum.
“Since my arrival at the Nelson-Atkins on November 18, 1976, I’ve heard only praise for the museum. Now, I have the good fortune to see what everyone has been talking about. For the next two months, I will be in this beautiful historic American home!” he said. “Then, I will be reassigned to Gallery P24, where I will experience the elegance of 18th-century English life in the King’s Lynn Room.”
Before moving to the new Bloch building, “Museum Guard” was stationed very near to his current temporary location in the main building, which was once home to the museum’s contemporary collection before undergoing remodeling to become the Early American Art gallery. Duane Hanson, an American artist, was born in 1925 and died in 1996. He created “Museum Guard” in 1975 out of polyester, fiberglass, oil and vinyl. To read more about Hanson click on Duane Hanson. Some of Hanson’s realist sculptures can be seen at The Saatchi Gallery.