Duane HANSON Woman with a laundry basket 1974
© Duane Hanson/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy, 2017. South Australian Government Grant 1975 Art Gallery of South Australia

Learning resource

Duane Hanson

‘My art is not about fooling people, it’s the human attitude I’m after – fatigue, a bit of frustration, rejection. To me there is a kind of beauty in all this.’

Discussion Questions

  • What is the beauty that Hanson is talking about in his statement?
  • What is the narrative of Woman with a laundry basket?
  • Does Hanson’s sculpture exhibit elements of caricature and if so how has Hanson achieved this?
  • How does the raw realism of Hanson’s’ sculptures make social comment on American life?
  • Why might the artist have included a laundry powder box?

Art Making

  • Create a series of photographs of the everyday. You might also look to Duane Hanson’s Two workers 1993 for inspiration. Ask family members or friends to pose in a tableau of a day to day task or chore. See if you can emulate the deadpan facial expressions and body language of Hanson’s subjects.
  • Experiment with the Pop Art aesthetic of finding beauty in everyday objects and the banal, that even mass produced soup cans or laundry powder boxes can be a valid subject of fine art. Collect advertisements and packaging that make use of a bold use of colour, composition and shape. Investigate ways that you can capture the beauty of these materials, perhaps through photography, collage or installation.

Case Study The portrayal of women’s work in art and media 

  • Utilise the personal, subjective or historical framework to analyse how women’s work is portrayed in Woman with a laundry basket 1974 as compared with Max Dupain’s Meat queue and Tracey Moffat’s Meat Packing 1978.
  • Investigate how class and gender intersect in these works. Think about how have social norms have changed to enable a greater number of women to enter the workforce, yet how Woman with laundry basket 1974 does depict a woman in the domestic role. Is it significant that the artist is male?
  • Access enlarged images of the works below by looking at them in the NGA Collection search. Compare the facial expressions of the women and consider what tone the artist is seeking to convey.

Research Links




Search for works by this artist in the national collection.