DUNCAN HANNAH At Home
In Issue 6 we feature Hannah’s seductive book '20th Century Boy Notebooks of the Seventies'. In Issue 3 we visited his home and studio.
Duncan Hannah may draw you into a certain kind of Anglophilic, mid-centuryish world with haunting images of women, or boats, or sports cars, but he does so with sensual objects known as paintings, which record events that took place in the artist’s studio — in time and space, with brushes and paint — as well as in his imagination. To register only the atmospheric side of Hannah’s work and to jam it automatically into some headline like “retro”, is to miss the sly inflections and mad passions the artist brings to his themes by way of considered brushstrokes, subtle coloring, and canny choices of glint and shadow that de-genericize even the most deadpan subject deliciously. What Hannah’s work wants, and what it deserves, is not just to be registered but looked at — really looked at, greedily, in that full-bodied way in which the act of looking draws on both wanting and thinking.
20th Century Boy by Duncan Hannah, (Alfred Knopf)
By Stephen Greco
Photos by Kate Orne
Issue 3 also features Ruth Reichl, Nicola Tyson, and much more. Now on sale!
A recent piece in the New York Times calls Hannah “a painter unmoored from time and trends”, though when the artist arrived in New York in the mid-‘70s, after growing up in Minneapolis, he did certainly manage to do his share of hanging out with many of the cool people of the era, like Andy Warhol and Patti Smith, in all the era’s cool, scene-y places, like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City. Schooled at Bard and trained at Parsons, Hannah went on to forge a distinguished career that has side-stepped a thousand fashionable ruts while encompassing a Guggenheim Fellowship and the inclusion of his work in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum and Chicago Art Institute, as well as those of individuals like George Clooney, Anna Sui, George Condo, Mick Jagger, and other notables.
I’ve admired Hannah’s work for years and always found it fun to run into him at parties. He lives in New York, but also keeps a home in West Cornwall, Connecticut, where he spends weekends and summers. I reached him there recently by phone, shortly after the photographs on these pages were taken. Read the full interview in Issue 3.