Pardon Me, Ma’am, But Don’t Touch Me, I’m The Art

Duane Hanson's sculpture "The Museum Guard" has been temporarily reassigned to a new post in "The Hooper Room" in the Early American Art Galleries of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

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.

Duane Hanson's "Museum Guard" in his usual spot in the Bloch Building of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Life imitates art as a real museum guard stands to the right. People can't resist getting their photos taken next to the vinyl Museum Guard. I hope Museum Guard will eventually return here, but now that he's had a taste of freedom, he may be hard to track down.

Duane Hanson's "Museum Guard" is one of the most popular art pieces in the museum. He always draws a crowd.

Sign explaining Duane Hanson's "Museum Guard's" new assignment.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Pardon Me, Ma’am, But Don’t Touch Me, I’m The Art

  1. Where in the world is Museum Guard? I smell a fun new contest in the making at the Nelson-Atkins Museum! 🙂

    The museum has a little fun and a temporary exhibition gets to exist for a while. Sounds like an artful win-win to me!

    That does sound like a fun contest! Museum-goers will venture off the beaten path of the Rembrandts and John Singer Sargents and the Caravaggios and slip into the nooks and crannies of forgotten art on the hunt for “Museum Guard.” Cathy UPDATE: The Nelson-Atkins Museum has shared this post on their Facebook page, reporting: “Where’s Roy? In case you have visited recently and weren’t able to find “Museum Guard” by Duane Hanson (we lovingly call him “Roy”), he is currently in the American Galleries period room. He will be stationed in other areas for the next few months so be sure to visit often to find out where he may show up.”

  2. Oh, now we’ll have to go again, so I can have my picture taken with the Museum Guard in a new setting. I believe you’ve got one of me making nice with a shuttlecock out on the lawn as well. 🙂

    Hey Shout,
    It’s that guy in the corner. He’s so lifelike that you do a double take. He has all of the personality of your typical museum guard as well.

    You were with me when I took the two photos of Museum Guard at his old post. The next time you visit, we’ll track down “Museum Guard” wherever he may be, like Henry Morton Stanley in pursuit of Stanley Livingstone on the shores of Lake Tanganyika! Cathy

  3. SandySays1

    If you ever get to my part of the country – BE SURE OH LOVER OF ART – to stop by the Ringling Mueseum of Art in Sarasota. Be prepared to be blown away! My human goes back time and again and never tires of visiting. A personal MC & HNY. Your Woofing buddy –
    Sandy

  4. This is funny! Kind of reminds me of when they move things around in the grocery store just to get us to venture out of our normal paths and go explore and find new things. We’re all resistant to change but it is better for us than we know! Sound like something I would love to experience…if only I could travel outside my little box more~enjoyed the post!

  5. What an interesting museum piece! Full of humor too. I’m amused to see that you’re so familiar with this Museum like you know where everything is displayed. Also may I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and enjoy wonderful time with family and friends.

  6. I’m with Arti. This is such fun and especially since you know it so well. I hope you have superb holidays and that next time you find him in even another location.

  7. Rachel

    Roy’s been at the museum for much longer than 2007. Prior to the Bloch Building, he was in the modern art floor (which I think was the second floor) for years. I remember a school trip (like, 1990 or so) where I watched one of my teachers ask him for directions. She didn’t know he wasn’t human.

    Thanks, Rachel, for stopping by. I included Roy’s former location in the original building in this post, but perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough. I used to visit Roy in the old days before he moved over to the Bloch Building. 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. Cathy

  8. This could be such fun, Catherine. I imagine lots of visitors asking for directions and such from him/it… It is certainly very life-like! 🙂
    I imagine he’s been returned to his original post now.

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